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HomeUncategorizedConstruction getting under way on Language and Cultural Centre in Tyendinaga

Construction getting under way on Language and Cultural Centre in Tyendinaga

Work will soon begin on the long awaited Kenhtè:ke Language and Cultural Centre in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

The project is being majority funded through a $9.6 million contribution, announced in June 2023, through the Government of Canada’s Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program.

Other costs like operations and equipment are being covered by $3 million in fundraising and $1 million provided by the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.

The Centre will welcome the existing Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na (TTO) language programs and provide opportunities for new programming and usage by other groups.

In a release, TTO Executive Director Callie Hill said the new building is a dream come true for the organization.

“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,” Hill said.

“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. “

Hill says having an established home base will be a huge benefit to TTO, and will help raise the prestige of language and culture in the community.

She says having a permanent spot will help the visibility and interest in learning language.

“We’ve lived in leased buildings and haven’t always had signage up and so we’re still somewhat invisible in our own community,” Hill said.

“It’s really going to add to people wanting to learn and wanting to know, we’ve noticed in the last little while there has been an increase in people wanting to learn to speak Mohawk and be involved in the programs that we offer, so I think this is going to bump that up even more.”

Right now TTO’s administration and adult programs are housed in the same space, and school aged programs down the road in a farmer day school in the community.

Hill says a huge benefit of this is bringing all those programs underneath the same roof.

The new building will also open up access to new opportunities with space like a common gathering area that can fit as many as 150 people.

Hill says it provides greater opportunities for education for both the Mohawk community and others who are interested in learning.

“We’ll be able to do more programming and not only for our own community but for the outside community as well to do that,” Hill said.

“Helping people to understand about Indigenous people, about our languages, about things that they want to know about our culture.”

Shovels are not in the ground quite yet as the site is prepared, but are expected to be before April 1.

Construction is expected to last 16 months and the Centre will be open in fall 2025.

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporterhttp://ygknews.ca
Born and raised in Whitby, Ontario, Owen has been living in Kingston for about three years after starting the band Willy Nilly. Prior to that he worked at CKLB radio in Yellowknife and completed studies in Niagara College's Broadcasting program.

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