Kingston Indigenous Languages Nest (KILN) to find home at 610 Montreal Street

·2 min read

City council has approved moving ahead with a Service Level Agreement that will provide funding to KILN to support Indigenous language learning.

As part of the support, KILN will also be able to use the building at 610 Montreal Street as a hub for language learning.

The primary languages learned at the facility, based on the second language learners available to KILN, will be Kanyen’kéha (Mohawk) and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway).

Deb St. Amant, one of five volunteer directors of KILN, says the new building will make Language Nest sessions more efficient and convenient.

"It's super exciting for us because we haven't had a stable place to put all our stuff," St Amant said.

"This will be really significant to have an actual space where we can put out our learning materials and they can stay out and not have to be packed up and returned to three or four different basements."

The building will undergo some renovations to make it more accessible, including fencing in the yard to make it safer for children.

The new location is directly on bus routes, and is adjacent to a number of parks, helping to make up for a lack of outdoor space on the site which KILN, nonetheless, plans to utilize to the fullest of its' capabilities.

Throughout much of the summer Language Nest sessions have been held at 1467 Highway 15, Walking the Path of Peace Together site.

KILN will still have access to that location, but having access to this building will allow for hybrid sessions on the land and in the house, as well as allowing for more people to participate solely based on accessibility of the location.

In a release sent out by the city, Mayor Bryan Paterson calls the city's support an important step in the act of reconciliation.

“This new partnership with KILN is just one step of many on the shared path to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples," Paterson says in the release.

"Supporting language learning, Indigenous cultural revitalization and community connections are ways we can work together to build meaningful and healing relationships.”

The news is exciting for Indigenous people in the community, but St. Amant says KILN has and will continue to encourage participation by non-Indigenous community members.

"It's never just been about Indigenous people learning the languages," St. Amant said.

"Learning an Indigenous language in itself is an act of reconciliation. I always say you don't have to be French in order to learn how to speak French, and you don't have to be Indigenous to learn an Indigenous language."

She adds that through learning Indigenous words, people also learn about the culture.

KILN doesn't expect to be in the building until the winter, but St. Amant said the city is willing to provide a temporary space in the meantime, and that KILN will continue to run programming on the land at Highway 15.

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, YGK News

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