On October 11 and to the knowledge of just a few – groundbreaking steps to further Kahnawake’s social welfare were being taken in a small gathering.
Playground co-licensee Mackenzie Kirby invited local press and stakeholders in the capital campaign to announce our $1 million donation towards the development of the Kahnawake Cultural Arts Center, a multi-purpose building that’s been in the works for nearly a decade.
“This project hits home for so many different reasons and it really aligns with what we’re trying to do in terms of helping the local community – our community,” said Kirby. “So when we caught wind of this project way back when, it was something that we kept very close tabs on because we knew we were gonna be involved in some way, shape, or form.”
The cultural arts center, which is on track to begin operations in two years, will also house the Kanien’kehá:ka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center (KORLCC), Turtle Island Theatre, and the Kahnawake Tourism office.
“What (these organizations) put out to this community with so little resources in terms of what they return and give back is really remarkable,” Kirby said in his opening statement at the meeting that afternoon.
“When the request came in to help out and get this project another step closer to completion, we were very happy to jump on board to be part of it.”“When the request came in to help out and get this project another step closer to completion, we were very happy to jump on board to be part of it.”
In March, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) announced that the budget for this project would be an estimated $32 million, half of which was funded by the federal government through the Cultural Spaces in Indigenous Communities program that month.
These first steps are crucial and are expected to last at least a couple more weeks. “Fast forward to today, and being able to present this investment… It’s extremely important for us, and I speak on behalf of the entire organization, that we’re just very happy to help,” Kirby added.
Among those present at the presentation of Playground’s donation were Mohawk Council grand chief Kahsennenhawe SkyDeer and chief Jessica Lazare, KOR executive director Kawennanóron Lisa Phillips, Turtle Island Theatre board member Jessica Hernandez, Kahnawake Tourism’s development manager Kimberly Cross, and many others.