Many Indigenous elders who were victims of the forced assimilation efforts put forth by the church and state via residential and boarding school systems are in need of housing and stability in their later years. The Lester Howse fund has been established to help elders who face financial hinderances with home repairs and safe housing accessibility.
We are not even one generation removed from the closing of the last residential school, which means that the legacy of genocide and erasure inflicted on Indigenous people spans across many age groups. There is a tragically high number of Indigenous elders facing housing insecurities, and living in sub-par conditions who were subjected to the atrocities committed within government and church run institutions.
Indigenous people were stolen from their homes and now more than ever need access to safe living conditions. The Lester Howse fund was inspired by Cree elder Lester Howse who wants nothing more than to be able to live on the lands he knows as home. By offering this support, the recipients will be given the security to live their sunset years in peace and stability - with dignity and respect.
"People aged 80 and older have a higher poverty rate than other aged people." - Congressional Research Service R45791. When people have security they can thrive, not just survive. The long term impact will open up opportunities for safe places for elders to teach and share with grandchildren and has the potential to revitalize language and tradition. Indigenous elders deserve safety, and the legacy of that safety will span generations to come.