Tyendinaga breaks ground on new $10M language and culture centre

A new Kenhtè:ke Language and Cultural Centre will soon be built in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

Amanda Bernhardt is a teacher at the Kawenn’on:we school and has a child who is a student there.

“It’s going to be amazing because if you see our school now, it’s just like a two-room lake-old building,” said Bernhardt. “I think a new school is going to be great. We’re going to be able to bring in more children and offer more for the community.”

The community won a cross-country competition from the Green Inclusive Infrastructure Fund where communities had to pitch an idea for a project.

Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na was one of the top candidates, for a green, carbon-neutral project with a cultural aspect.

It’s a 20-year dream come true for Callie Maracle, executive director of Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na.

She said the Tyendinaga Mohawk Council will provide another $1 million for construction on top of the $9.6 million it received from the federal government. But, she said, more is needed.

“We’re looking at raising another $2 million dollars to help with, the furnishings and of course the landscaping,” she said.

The new building will have a teaching kitchen, art studio and gathering space for up to 150 people for language and cultural programs.

It will be the new teaching space for Kawenn’on:we school program for kids in the language nursery program and senior kindergarten through to Grade 4.

According to Maracle, the 18-month project is expected to begin in August.

“It’s just really important, the value of your identity and how having your language, having a culture just places you in the world,” she said.

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