Woodland Cultural Centre successfully reaches $23.5 million dollar fundraising goal

SIX NATIONS — The fundraising campaign to restore the former Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School and turn it into a museum has raised the $23.5 million dollars it needed, four years ahead of schedule.

The WCC Executive Director Janis Monture outlined the funds in a community newsletter, saying that $13.3 million came from the Ontario government, $8.2 million came from the federal government, and $776,134 was given by municipal governments.

An incredible $2,023,678.45 — or 8.3% of the entire fundraising goal has been raised from nearly 4000 individuals, organizations and corporate donors. Of those supporters — 41% are individuals, 32.4% came from businesses, 12.7% was from community and service organizations, 7.5% from charities and foundations, 5.4% from schools or educational institutions and 1% from health services.

Monture says the decision to restore the former residential school came after a community consultation process showed that 96% of respondents voted in favour of keeping the building and restoring it to “Save the Evidence” of the residential school era.

An analysis of the repairs initially estimated $13.5 million was needed but that number rose by an additional $10 million in the years to come.

Monture says that fundraising for the project began in 2015 and the restoration was split into four phases to assist with meeting goals. After the announcement that unmarked graves were being discovered at residential school sites across Canada the fundraising goals for the fourth and final phase were met as people around the world wanted to contribute to help preserve the history of the residential school era.

Monture said, “Six years later, it’s hard to put into words the end of this chapter. There are so many people to thank. Thank you to the staff who worked tirelessly here at Woodland these last six years to ensure our fundraising was done. Thank you to our donors, without whose overwhelming generosity and support we would not have been able to successfully raise the funds to complete this restoration. Thank you to our government partners who ensured that this important work did not go unnoticed and that it would remain a legacy. But most importantly, to the Survivors of the Mohawk Institute Residential School, those who were forced to be at this institution – we cannot thank you enough for your guidance these last six years, and for trusting us with your truths. Woodland will continue to share these truths and to Share the Evidence with the rest of the world in late 2024 when we hope to re-open the building as a testament to this dark chapter in history.”

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