A ceremony was held in Winnipeg’s inner-city on Tuesday, as a local not-for-profit says they are getting closer to their dream of a major building expansion, and an opportunity to support more people in the community.
“Today is a good day,” Ka Ni Kanichihk executive director Dodie Jordaan said on Tuesday, as the organization hosted a ground blessing ceremony for the ground that will one day be home to an $8 million campus expansion.
“This really is a vision of those who have worked in the community for a long time, but also a vision of the community, this means more programming for the community, and right now there aren’t many Indigenous-led organizations here in the city centre.”
According to Jordaan, since 2001, Ka Ni Kanichihk has been offering “Indigenous-designed and led programs and services that support people as they transform their lives,” working mostly out of their 8,700-square-foot headquarters at 455 McDermot Ave.
She said for many years there has been such a high demand for their services that they have not been able to offer all they would like to out of their existing building, but their planned expansion project would add approximately 20,000 square feet of space right next to their existing building.
“This means we can provide more of what the community has been asking for, and it has been the community asking for more of it,” she said. “They want more programs, and more cultural services, and support, and wellness and healing programs, and that’s what this space will bring to them.
“We will triple our size, and triple the amount of people we can service.”
Ka Ni Kanichihk now hopes to see construction underway on the project sometime this winter, according to Jordaan.
“We plan to put our shovels in the ground in six months, so we are now hoping that in February, that is what we are going to see happen here,” she said.
Plans for the new building include a dedicated ceremony space, a wellness clinic with Indigenous and western resources, a community kitchen, a drop-in resource hub, an expanded child-care centre, and a landscaped outdoor gathering space for community members.
“Today’s land blessing marks a step forward toward creating a space that proudly reflects Indigenous culture and will result in more Indigenous inclusion in our economy, more families raised up from poverty, and a stronger community for everyone,” Jordaan said.
— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun