KEY TO OUR CULTURE
April Smoke and her son, Josh—the first owners of a Habitat home in a First Nations community—now live safely and with access to their rich cultural heritage.
March 29, 2012
April’s family had struggled with a cycle of poverty that she was determined to break. She moved to Windsor, Ontario to pursue post-secondary studies—500 kilometres from the Alderville reserve where she grew up. While she knew education was an important investment, the expense was a strain: all she could afford was a crowded house in an unsafe neighbourhood.
Shortly after graduating, she heard Habitat for
Humanity was looking to build in Alderville. Within four months of submitting
her application she moved into a new home with her son, mother and brother.
April says the house was truly a community effort. "I was surprised by everyone’s generosity,” she remarks. "People I didn’t even know were coming out and lending a hand on the build site. I feel such a strong sense of belonging.” An important part of that belonging has to do with her Ojibwe heritage. April is eager to expose Josh to the rich history of their people and has enrolled them both in Ojibwe language classes. "We
Growing up in a single-parent family, she herself moved around a lot. "I wanted to plant roots and give Josh a life he could be proud of,” she says. April concludes that perhaps her happiest moment came when she overheard Josh tell someone that for his fifth birthday she was building him a house.
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