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Tiny homes bring big opportunities for Blood Tribe

Click to play video: 'Tiny homes becoming big opportunities for Blood Tribe' Tiny homes becoming big opportunities for Blood Tribe
The Blood Tribe and Lethbridge College are bringing the classroom directly to students. As Erik Bay shows us, they’ve been learning how to build a tiny home from the ground up, without needing to leave their community.

Turning pieces of wood into a tiny home, students from the Blood Tribe have spent the last 20 weeks learning what it takes to build a house.

“This is one of the best training facilities, you can do a hands-on project,” instructor Roy Sugai said.

“Plus, we do a lot of paperwork and life skills and they also leave with five tickets, which is going to help them get into construction.”

Read more: Lethbridge and Blood Tribe police focus on training new officers together

The students work on every part of the home, from framing to the interior finishings.

Trey Wells-Creighton installs cabinets in a tiny home built on the Blood Reserve. July 22, 2021.
Trey Wells-Creighton installs cabinets in a tiny home built on the Blood Reserve. July 22, 2021. Erik Bay / Global News

Jaleel Youngpine said learning each aspect has been valuable.

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“It opens a door to a lot of things because I’ve got mostly the basics (now),” Youngpine said.

Sugai said travelling to places like Lethbridge for education can be difficult for young people from the Blood Tribe, so it was important to partner with Lethbridge College and bring the tiny homes project to them.

“Everybody’s got access. It’s a lot easier, they come here, they train, they learn all day long. Then they go home, just like a job. The next day, we start all over,” Sugai said.

That access is a big reason why Kyzer Bird is in the program.

“It’s good for me because I have a family, so I don’t have to leave too far,” Bird said.

Read more: Group bringing supportive housing to Blood Tribe Reserve

Two of the students have already left the program for jobs and the others finishing the home are ready to follow.

“It feels good to have some of… the experience, the confidence to get on a bigger jobsite,” student Trey Wells-Creighton said.

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“I’m already starting my own projects at my house. I’m building my own door,” Youngpine said.

Despite having their graduation ceremony on Wednesday, the students are still working hard to complete their tiny home before Friday’s deadline.

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