Mohawks break ground on new elder care home in Tyendinaga

Donald Maracle, Chief of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (at podium), offered thanks to Shonkwaya’tihson, the Creator, for the community’s future elder care centre. Members of the community as well as Minister of Long-Term Care Paul Calandra were on hand for the sod turning. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell/Kingstonist.

Construction is underway on a new elder care home to be operated by the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

The new state-of-the-art, not-for-profit home being developed in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory is expected to welcome residents in winter 2026. It will provide 128 new long-term care beds and offer culturally appropriate services for the Indigenous community. 

Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Chief Donald Maracle expressed gratitude, saying, “We are thankful for the help of the Creator, Tetsitewanonwerá:tons ne Shonkwaya’tihson, God, without [whom] this would not have happened. I prayed for this every day — that there would be something built so that the needs of our people would be taken care of, because I love my people, and I want them to be looked after properly: to have safe drinking water, long-term care and housing, and professionally trained people to look after their health needs.”

The design features private, modern rooms, 24-hour nursing and personal care, and social activities and food services, with a focus on maintaining connections with language, culture, and community, including larger resident common areas and air conditioning throughout the home, the Chief explained. 

The new home will be licensed to and operated by the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, represented by the Tyendinaga Mohawk Council, and will be centred on ‘resident home areas,’ more intimate and familiar living spaces with up to 32 residents in each, with dining and activity areas, lounges, and bedrooms. 

“Officially breaking ground on the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Elder Care Home project is not only a great achievement for our community,” Maracle said, “it also demonstrates the success of the Chiefs’ Committee on Long-Term Care working collaboratively with licensing and funding partners from the governments of Ontario and Canada.”

Maracle also pointed out that the new elder care home “will become just the fifth licensed long-term care facility on a First Nation territory. This will allow folks to remain on-territory as they age and require more care. This is crucial, as leaving the community when care is needed can re-traumatize those who have been impacted by the residential school system.” 

The Chief concluded, “As work begins on constructing this new 128-bed, net zero carbon project, we will continue working with community partners such as First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) to train nurses and [personal support workers] to hire local as much as possible.”

Minister of Long-Term Care Paul Calandra was on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony and said, “Congratulations to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte on their ground-breaking for a new long-term care home. Our government is committed to our shared journey of healing and reconciliation with the Indigenous people of Ontario. We are also fixing long-term care, and a key part of that plan is building modern, safe, and comfortable homes for our seniors. Today’s groundbreaking represents a significant milestone for both priorities. When the home is completed, 128 First Nation residents will have a new place to call home near their family and friends that is tailored to the needs of their community.”

The federal government announced funding for the facility in January 2023.

Minister Calandra (at podium) praised Chief Maracle (right) for his leadership role in making the long-term care facility in Tyendinaga a reality. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell/Kingstonist.

Calandra and other speakers complimented Chief Maracle for his leadership and tenacity in getting this project underway.

Ric Bresee, MPP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington, noted that “the elders in our community deserve to have good places to live out their final years in close connection to their own communities. I’m grateful for this government living up to its promise and partnering with all levels of government to provide this needed housing.”

As of April 2023, more than 40,000 people were on the waiting list to access a long-term care bed in Ontario, according to a release from the Ontario government. The median wait time is 123 days for applicants to be placed in long-term care.

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