Katłįà Lafferty is using her platform as an author to address the crisis that is northern housing.
The powerful prose in This House Is Not A Home tells a story of colonialism and the dispossession of Indigenous lands.
“As the co-chair of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation committee on housing…,” Lafferty says, “I really saw all of the issues many housing residents were living through.
“When it comes to having mould in their home or putting in maintenance orders that weren’t filled to having their house taken right out from underneath them and not being able to have home ownership.”
It’s the third book from the Dene Cree and Métis writer inspired by true events.
“One that really stood out to me was a friend of mine who went hunting, their whole family went out hunting in the early 1980s and they were gone for about six weeks in the fall,” Lafferty says. “When they returned their house was completely gone; they had no idea what happened to it.
“They soon found out the housing corporation had assumed it was abandoned and tore it down with everything still in it and built up a housing unit pretty much in the same spot and expected them to live in it and pay rent.”
The characters in Lafferty’s latest novel, due out Sept. 1, are forced to assimilate into a developing mining town.
She says they do it with resiliency while strengthening their sovereignty.