Darlene Necan is a member of the Ojibways of Saugeen First Nation, but she's been unable to acquire housing in that community, about 400 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, since the reserve was created in the late 1990s.
Last year, Necan began building with donated materials on land where her family home once stood, 20 kilometres south of her reserve, in the unorganized township of Savant Lake, Ont.
"This is my castle and I'm so proud to have it, even though it's not done yet," Necan said during a recent visit to the one-room, plywood house she is not allowed to live in.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has charged Necan with breaches of the Public Lands Act that carry fines of up to $10,000, and up to an additional $1,000 fine each time she is caught continuing to build. Necan believes it is because somehow the place she grew up has become Crown land. The ministry did not respond to questions from CBC News about this story.