Pikwakanagan – There were smiles all around on Tuesday morning at the Omamiwinini Pimadjwowin - Algonquin Way Cultural Centre – with a cheque presentation for $5,000 from RBC.
“We are developing a building fund,” Don Bilodeau, the president of Omamiwinini Pimadjwowin, explained. “We want to build a purpose-built museum.”
The organization is not-for-profit, he explained, so finding funding sources can be challenging. He said the plan for a museum at Pikwakanagan is in the making but it will take a tremendous influx of money to make it happen. Although grant applications have been submitted, so far they have been unsuccessful.
“We hope to be the repository of the history of our nation,” he explained.
Showcasing the culture is important and having the artifacts is key, he added.
“It will be a safe repository for archeology and records,” he said. “We need to recover the history and learn it ourselves.”
There has been a great deal of interest in Algonquin history especially in recent years with more awareness of residential schools, he added. This was evidenced in the huge turnout at the pow wow this summer.
The money will be put in a trust until they are able to use it, Mr. Bilodeau said.
Ryan Nicholas, the branch manager at the RBC in Pembroke, was on hand to present the cheque. He explained RBC has a corporate giving division. Local branches are asked for recommendations on organizations.
“Last year we gave to the Robbie Dean Centre and this year we gave to Community Living and the Algonquin Way Cultural Centre,” he said.
The small business department at the bank makes recommendations and then they choose an organization from there, he explained.
The Omamiwinini Pimadjwowin was established as a way to implement the revitalization of Algonquin culture. It was incorporated in 2000 with voting membership limited to registered members of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First nation.
They run a gift shop, have cultural teachings and ceremonies, Algonquin language classes and programs and workshops.
“The Omamiwinini Pimadjwowin mission is to revitalize, reintegrate, enhance and protect the cultural traditions, customs, practices, heritage, language and arts of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation,” a brochure noted.
The cultural centre is located at 469 Kokomis Inamo. More information can be found at www.thealgonquinway.ca
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader