Walter Manitowabi, Director of the First Nations Sustainable Communities Program of IGNITE Infrastructure Association, presented at the Assembly of First Nations 2017 National Housing and Infrastructure Forum being held in Montreal, Quebec, October 30-November 1. During his presentation, Manitowabi announced the national launch of the First Nations Sustainable Communities Program.

Manitowabi participated in a panel discussion on Skills Development and Capacity Building. The panel also discussed opportunities to support First Nations with innovative project development and financing models. “It is crucial, now more than ever, for First Nations to develop new ways of project development and financing.  The current government programs are broken and have been broken for a long time.  Yes, First Nations do need a national strategy with new delivery models and new federal programming, but until then, First Nations need a new approach to infrastructure – a community driven approach that is supported by IGNITE.”

Innovative Strategy Will Improve Economic Prosperity and Social Well-Being 

October 11, 2017 – Manitoulin Island, Ontario – The Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, one of the 10 largest First Nation communities in Canada, is honoured to be the first community to participate in the First Nations Sustainable Communities Program, developed by IGNITE Infrastructure Association Inc. (IGNITE). Elected Chief of the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, Ogimaa Duke Peltier and Director of the IGNITE First Nations Sustainable Communities Program, Walter Manitowabi, celebrated the official launch of the program in Ontario, as well as the successful completion of Phase One of the Wiikwemkoong project, today at a ceremonial red ribbon event. Endorsed by the Chiefs of Ontario, the First Nations Sustainable Communities Program provides support to First Nations in developing comprehensive, community-driven plans that reflect local opportunities and constraints. Through the program, IGNITE works with First Nations communities to design, build, finance, and deliver project implementation strategies; which are developed collaboratively with First Nations Leadership through needs assessments and comprehensive energy and facility audits.