TYENDINAGA MOHAWK TERRITORY — Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na (TTO) will commence construction on its new school and cultural centre in the early spring of 2024, no later than Apr. 1.
TTO’s building committee and board of directors recently awarded the contract to build the Kenhtè:ke Language and Cultural Centre in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. The contract was awarded to Niagara Falls-based NIACON following a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process.
“We are thrilled to embark on this transformative journey with the start of construction of our new school and cultural centre,” said Callie Hill, Executive Director of Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Cultural Centre. “Our vision extends beyond bricks and mortar – it is about creating a dynamic space that cultivates knowledge, celebrates culture, and builds community for generations to come. Thank you to all who have journeyed with us and continue to do so.”
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. Designs were completed by Brook McIlroy’s Indigenous Design Studio, and the project will be managed by Dr. Daniel Brant of Daniel J. Brant & Associates, a Tyendinaga-based consulting business. Construction is estimated to be completed in fall 2025.
The Centre will provide educational and cultural programs for community members, non-Indigenous organizations and individuals who are interested in learning about Onkwehonwe’néha (Mohawk language, cultural values, and traditions) to support reconciliation. The new facility will include a teaching kitchen, an art studio, and a gathering space for up to 150 people for programs, events, celebrations, and ceremony. The building design meets the CAGBC’s Zero Carbon Building Design Standard by achieving zero operational carbon emissions and low embodied emissions in its construction.
The project is being majority funded through a $9.6 million contribution to this project, announced in June 2023, through the Government of Canada’s Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program (GICB). An additional $1 million provided by the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and community fundraising will address the remainder of the project cost. With construction costs having escalated since the project was first conceptualized, fundraising is underway to help cover the cost of landscaping, parking lots, furnishings, equipment, and internal fixtures.
TTO is a registered charity and donations towards the Kenhtè:ke Language and Cultural Centre are gratefully accepted via CanadaHelps.
Tim Krause, NIACON President said, “We are so pleased to be a part of this historic and meaningful project. NIACON is committed to safety, sustainability and the well-being of all, and we feel privileged that we can play a part in helping TTO deliver on its vision for the Kenhtè:ke Language and Cultural Centre. We look forward to seeing this beautiful facility become a gift to both the community and the landscape.”
Daniel Brant, project manager said, “I’m pleased to support this local project and help bring this much needed resource to life for all members of our community, present and future. We look forward to creating a lasting legacy and a welcoming space for the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and those seeking to learn about our culture.”