Construction of Kenhtè:ke Language and Cultural Centre is now underway

The external design of the Kenhtè:ke Language and Cultural Centre. Submitted image.

Four months after announcing the firm chosen to construct the Kenhtè:ke Language and Cultural Centre, the start date for construction has arrived.

Monday, Mar. 18, 2024, marked the beginning of construction on the language and cultural centre, according to a release from Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na (TTO).

“We are excited to reach this next milestone in our journey with this historic and meaningful community site being redeveloped into a community facility that will serve generations to come,” said Callie Hill, Executive Director of TTO.

“Though this marks the start of visible, on-site work towards our goal, achieving this is the culmination of decades of dreams and years of planning and preparation. We thank all who have supported us so far, and those who will join us in the years to come.”

The Kenhtè:ke Language and Cultural Centre will be located at 39 Salmon River Road within Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory on land provided by the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. According to the release, designs were completed by Winnipeg-based Brook McIlroy’s Indigenous Design Studio, and the project will be managed by Dr. Daniel Brant of Daniel J. Brant & Associates, a Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory-based project management firm. NIACON is responsible for the building’s construction, which is estimated to be completed in fall 2025.

As this site will soon be an active construction site, members of the public in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and the surrounding area are asked not to visit the property without authorization from the contractor as adequate safety gear is required on-site, TTO stated in the release.

According to the release, the Centre will house the existing TTO language programs and it will provide educational and cultural programs for community members, non-Indigenous organizations and individuals who are interested in deepening their understanding of Kanyen’kehá:ka (Mohawk) cultural values and traditions to support reconciliation. It will include a teaching kitchen, an art studio, and a gathering space for up to 150 people for programs, events, and celebrations.

The interior design of the language and cultural centre. Image via TTO.

The project is majority funded by a $9.6 million contribution, announced in June 2023, through the Government of Canada’s Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program (GICB). According to the release, an additional $1 million provided by the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and fundraising of an additional $3 million will address the remainder of the project cost. This additional fundraising will help cover the cost of landscaping, parking lots, furnishings, equipment, and operations.

TTO is a registered charity and donations towards the Kenhtè:ke Language and Cultural Centre are gratefully accepted via CanadaHelps or by contacting TTO directly.

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