Mohawk women build tiny houses for those fleeing domestic violence


Five women from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory have made a huge contribution to those fleeing domestic violence and gained new carpentry skills along the way.

The Red Cedars Shelter’s tiny houses are for women needing transitional housing after leaving the safe house on the Mohawk Nation in southern Ontario.

“They need time to recover from the trauma and to find suitable housing for their families,” said Chief R. Don Maracle. “That’s quite a challenge now in this day and age because a lot of people that are on limited incomes are priced out of the housing market.

“It’s all across Canada, but it’s profoundly an issue in First Nation communities.”

The two tiny houses were built by five women as part of a six-month project called Heels to Workboots.

It’s an accomplishment Tammy McGuire couldn’t be more proud of.

“It’s (an) amazing, amazing feeling to know that I’m giving back to my community; that somebody else is going to enjoy this,” she said.

Working on the homes inspired Kirsten Sparks to consider a career in plumbing.

“I will apply to companies … for an apprenticeship, and do my four or five years of apprenticeship in plumbing, and then I would become a journeyperson,” she said.

Project manager Chris Maracle has already pitched a new construction project.

“We’re hoping that our chief and council will approve the first phase of the very first First Nation Tiny House development…,” he said.

“I don’t see any reason why we won’t have one of these ladies start their own general contracting business.”