OHSWEKEN – The Royal Bank of Canada Ohsweken branch (RBC) has been helping Six Nations keep money circulating within the community for 25 years. The bank celebrated its 25th anniversary by donating $25,000 to the new youth and elder centre.
“Having the branch on the reserve ensures economic development,” said Regional President Francine Dyksterhuis in a statement read at the bank’s 25th anniversary celebration last Friday, January 13. “The money stays in the community and it circulates within the community, helping to generate its own wealth.”
The Ohsweken branch was the first full service branch on a reserve in Canada and now there are eight branches on reserves across south western Ontario.
Bill Montour was the chief of Six Nations when the bank was established and had a hand in seeing the idea come to fruition.
“We had an issue with community members not being able to easily cash their cheques or deposit money,” said Montour to a room of roughly 40 individuals who came to celebrate. “People would have to travel off reserve to cash their paycheque, access their savings and manage their everyday banking. Establishing a bank here was something that needed to get done.”
Montour said that originally Six Nations Elected Council was simply hoping for a small kiosk where cheques and cash could be deposited but when RBC offered a full-sized branch, they welcomed the idea.
“I know it took some community members a bit of time to learn to trust and appreciate a bank on reserve, but I think it has benefitted the community greatly,” said Montour.
Several members of the branch’s original staff were there to celebrate, including Tracy Hill who has been working there since its opening 25 years ago. Six Nations Elected Chief Ava Hill congratulated her and the staff’s success by presenting them with a certificate from the elected council.
“The bank here has created a lot of jobs and a lot of training and futures for those who may want to pursue careers in banking,” said Hill. “I thank RBC for everything it has contributed to the community throughout the years.”
In recognition of RBC’s continued commitment to Six Nations, the RBC Foundation made a $25,000 donation to Six Nations’ local youth and the Dajoh Youth and Elders Centre.
“We are thrilled to support this community even further, in particular the local youth of the community,” said Dyksterhuis. “At RBC we want to help youth unlock their potential and help them find their path to success with confidence.”
After the celebrations, representatives from RBC and Six Nations Elected Council went to tour the centre and show RBC how their donation will be put to use.
RBC 1: Former elected chief of Six Nations Bill Montour joins current Elected Chief Ava Hill and representatives from the Royal Bank of Canada and Six Nations Elected Council to accept a $25,000 donation from the RBC Foundation. The Donation is in celebration of 25 years of service from the RBC Ohsweken branch and will go towards the success of local youth and the Dajoh Youth and Elders Centre. Photo by Jayson Koblun
RBC 2: The 25th anniversary celebrations took place on January 13 inside the RBC Ohsweken branch in the village plaza. Photo by Jayson Koblun
RBC 3: Elected chief Ava Hill and representatives from the Royal Bank of Canada and Six Nations Elected Council accepting a $25,000 donation from the RBC Foundation. The Donation is in celebration of 25 years of service from the RBC Ohsweken branch and will go towards the success of the local youth and the Dajoh Youth and Elders Centre. Corey Martin (centre) a local youth who has contributed greatly to the community joined the delegation. Photo by Jayson Koblun
RBC 4: Six Nations Elected Chief Ava Hill (right) presented RBC staff member Tracy Hill (left) who is also her sister with a certificate from Six Nations Elected Council in celebration of the bank’s 25 years on service in the community. Photo by Jayson Koblun