The Ogwehohweh Skills and Trades Training Centre Longhouse received a $50,000 donation from RBC yesterday to go towards re-building its replica Haudenosaunee longhouse that was lost in a devastating fire in July 2022.
The donation helps them get a bit closer to their goal of $1 million needed to re-build the longhouse. A massive fire fully engulfed the longhouse on July 22, burning the whole structure to the ground.
Since then, OSTTC, which oversaw the building of the original structure on the property of the Kayanase greenhouse on Hwy. 54, has been fundraising to re-build the longhouse.
OSTTC says the GANǪSA’Ǫ:WEH (Real/Original House in Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’/Cayuga) was envisioned as a place where the history and culture of the Haudneosaunee is accurately and appropriately represented, while providing cultural, social, educational, and economic benefits to the community of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.
Visitors from around the world had been able to take part in cultural teachings at the longhouse such as tea sampling, creating craftwork and educational site walks to identify Indigenous plants and medicines.
Visitors also participated in traditional games such as ding-ball, lacrosse, archery and the hoop game.
After the fire, a fundraiser called The Ęjidwa̱hsrǫ:ni:’ ‘We Will Build Again’ Fund campaign was launched to help rebuild the longhouse.
Advisory Committee Member to Kahyonhakta, Richard W. Hill Sr., said, “In keeping with our name, ‘people who are building the extended lodge,’ we are building yet another longhouse. While it has been many centuries since our people actually lived in bark-covered longhouses, we have finally begun to build a new longhouse as a place of memory and learning. It has taken several years of research, planning and dreaming to finally be able to see the old-style longhouse rising up on the land. It is such a good feeling knowing that soon our children will be able to see such a historic structure here in our own community. It will be very important to reinforce our traditional identity as the People of the Longhouse. It will also allow us to have a sharing place where the stories, crafts, and games of our ancestors come alive for the next generation.”
The project brings increased tourist traffic to Six Nations and students at OSTTC and clients of Grand River Employment and Training also used the space for cultural learning and to reconnect with their history and strengthen their social identity.
The longhouse project was established in 2014 and built by local Six Nations tradespeople.
Since opening its doors, the longhouse had thousands of visitors from all over the world.
The online fundraiser has raised about $18,784 so far.
Anyone wishing to donate can visit the Canada Helps donation page at: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/the-ejidwahsroni-fund-we-will-build-it-again-2/