Legalities cause Trust to clawback funds from language school

OHSWEKEN — Just over $118,000 in funds allocated by the Six Nations of the Grand River’s Economic Development Trust for a Six Nations language school has been clawed back, and officials for the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation are pointing the finger at legal problems.

SNGRDC said in a statement on March 1, “the EDT approved funding to Kawenni:io/Gaweni:yo Private School in the amount of $118,129.35 to install the underground infrastructure for their laneway at the site of  their future school, however the funds were not utilized by the Dec 1, 2018 deadline.”

Those funds were then re-distributed to three approved 2019 applicants: Six Nations Language Commission recieved $34,000.00, Six Nations Health Services was given an additional $30,000.00, and the Six Nations Community Foodbank was granted $54,129.35.

According to SNGRDC’s Communications Director Tabitha Curley, Kawenni:io/Gaweni:yo did not have a secured site location by year end for 2018.

Curley said Kawenni:io/Gaweni:yo had not filed a monthly report on their use of funds by June 2018 and when EDT representatives reached out to find out why, the school requested to use the funds to purchase a lot of land from a private owner.

“The Trustees denied the request as the cost of the property was greater than the approved total and there were to many legalities to purchase property on behalf of an applicant,” said Curley.

Curley says Kawenni:io/Gaweni:yo was then given the opportunity to use the funds by year end and provided a quote to the Trust three days before the deadline to clearcut 9 acres for the school.

“The trust was not comfortable to approve the clear cutting, nor did they think the work could be completed by year end. Thus the request was denied,” said Curley. “Due to time constraints the trustees determined that they would reallocate the funds to three of the 2019 recipients to avoid potential taxes. The Trustees did encourage the school to reapply for the 2020 call for applications.”

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