An organization that works to support Manitoba’s urban Indigenous community will soon have far more space to continue offering those supports.
Ka Ni Kanichihk, an Indigenous-led community organization in Winnipeg’s core area, unveiled on Thursday designs for its soon to be expanded facility.
Ka Ni Kanichihk provides “healing, support services, and training opportunities for women, youth, families and young men who want to change their lives.”
“We do this through a number of Indigenous-led prevention and intervention programs that help children, youth, women, men, and families heal, succeed and become leaders,” the organization said on their website.
Leslie Spillett, who is one of the founders of Ka Ni Kanichihk, said that since opening in 2001 the organization’s current 8,700 square foot building at 455 McDermot Ave. has been far too small. A new building built on the same grounds will now add an additional 14,200 square feet worth of space.
“Almost from the time we opened our doors to the community in 2001, the space was too small to meet the number of community members who wanted to attend programming. We knew then that our space would have to grow someday,” Spillett said.
“With Winnipeg’s Indigenous population growing so quickly, there is an urgent need for additional training programs, more healing opportunities for youth and families, and an accessible, safe community gathering place all centred around ceremony and Indigenous ways of being.
“We’re so excited that after years of envisioning and planning, the expansion of Ka Ni Kanichihk’s existing home is finally moving forward.”
Construction is now expected to start in late 2021 on Ka Ni Kanichihk’s new building.
At Thursday’s unveiling of the building’s design, a virtual tour revealed plans for new cultural and training areas and an expanded daycare with 48 spaces.
The building will also include a community kitchen, cultural gathering space, counselling spaces, drop-in and healing spaces, and an outdoor community hub, and all designs will “reflect Indigenous ways of being, connections between indoors and the outside world, and the community’s need for a safe place to gather together.”
“This is a long-overdue culturally safe community space where anyone from the community can come to access services,” Spillett said.
Fundraising continues for the project which is expected to cost approximately $7 million, and anyone looking to donate can visit kanikanichihk.ca/donate/
— 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