Wachusko Weesti (Muskrat Hut)

Wachusko Weesti (Muskrat Hut)

The Muskrat Hut project was born out of a community-led collaboration design/build process and has embedded Indigenous Knowledge at the root of the project. Members of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and Architects/Designers led by Dr. Alex Wilson developed the concept for this project through many community workshop sessions. The Muskrat Hut creates a basecamp where safe and clean water, a toilet, sauna, shower, power, and communication equipment, and a kitchen are accessible when deployed. The hut is mobile and can be hauled into semi-remote locations with a passenger truck where road/trail access is possible. 

It is intended to be used as a base camp for remote building sites, ecological monitoring, land defence, cultural camps, and any other land-based education activities. The hut has solar power built in to create a communication connection hub to the outside world while it is deployed. The Muskrat Hut design workshops showcase a collaborative community-led design process that is inspired by traditional knowledge and translates it into a built, tangible form. The Muskrat Hut acts as a catalyst to further land-based activities and teaching within Opaskwayak Cree Nation Members. 

The hut is named after Wachusk, the Muskrat. These animals play an important role both in Cree Cosmology and in the local ecosystem. They are known for their persistence and hard work to maintain the health of local watersheds and ecosystems. The Muskrat is an important food source, providing warm clothing and has connections to important medicines for community members. 

The Muskrat Hut aids in land protection and monitoring.  We are currently in a climate crisis and Northern Indigenous Communities are experiencing the effects of climate change first hand. The Muskrat hut is helping people engage with and protect the land through the provision of warm, safe, and hygienic space which helps extend time out on the land. Elders, trappers, community members, students, and professionals all contributed to this community-building project. The plans are open source and free to be used by other Indigenous Communities.


Making the Shift
True North Aid
Nutana Collegiate
Idle No More
University of Manitoba
SOLO Architecture
Decentralized Design Lab


Opaskwayak Cree Nation