Six Nations is getting $500,000 in funding to help the sector with its pandemic recover efforts.
The announcement was made at The Gathering Place on Friday, where Filomena Tassi, minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, said the money is part of a country-wide, $500 million tourism recovery fund.
Matt Jamieson, director of Six Nations of the Grand River Economic Development Corp., said the money will go towards upgrades at Chiefswood Park, including eight glamping units, as well as improvements to the historical Royal Chapel of the Mohawks on the outskirts of Brantford.
“I am pleased to announce that the projects funded through this investment, have been well-received by our guests and community members. The splash pad and virtual reality experiences are complete and seeing increased engagement. We are very happy with how the pavilion is coming along and look forward to the added value this facility will bring to Chiefswood Park. The pavilion will be utilized as a seating area and business centre, as well as a space where we can offer cultural programming and activities year-round.”
Tassi said the funding will help bring tourists back to Six Nations to learn about the community’s history.
“The Government of Canada is committed to investing in Indigenous businesses, organizations and communities to achieve their goals, increase their participation in the economy and create prosperity,” said Tassi. “With investments through the Tourism Relief Fund and Canada Community Revitalization Fund, FedDev Ontario is providing Indigenous tourism owners with support to attract visitors, enhance public spaces, share knowledge and create jobs and economic growth in their communities.”
Six Nations was one of 23 Indigenous communities getting $9.6 million to enhance tourism and economic development.
The government said the investments will help Indigenous-led organizations grow and diversify and the unique experiences and improved public spaces will attract visitors, leading to new jobs and economic growth.
Six Nations’ funding will also include developing and marketing virtual reality experiences at Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks and Chiefswood National Historic Site (the home of famed poetess Pauline Johnson), through the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF).
In addition, SNGREDC will renovate washroom and laundry facilities at Chiefswood Park and build a pavilion and meeting space; install a new splash pad; and construct eight glamping units with roof-top solar panels.
“Indigenous businesses and their communities offer authentic experiences, community spaces and ancestral cultural teachings that are important to our society and our economy,” said Randy Boissonnault, minister of tourism and associate minister of finance. “Through the Tourism Relief Fund and Canada Community Revitalization Fund, we are enhancing community infrastructure, public spaces and tourism attractions to drive growth and welcome visitors from Canada and around the world. Together with Indigenous partners, we are building an economy that works for everyone.
Vance Badawey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre, said tourism was a particularly hard-hit sector during the pandemic.
“It is important that we continue to invest in Indigenous communities and tourism projects to ensure the strong economic growth and success of Indigenous tourism, as well as reinforcing the importance of gathering places to bring people together to share experiences, culture and history.”
Other applicants are eligible for the tourism pandemic relief funding with an application deadline of March 31, 2023.