Slated cultural center gets $5 million shot in the arm from gaming revenues

·3 min read

The community’s slated Cultural and Arts Center will get a $5 million boost toward its $16 million fundraising goal as the campaign to get the center built took a huge step forward yesterday, thanks to the entity that operates an online gaming site on behalf of the community.

The Capital Campaign to build the new Kahnawake Cultural and Arts Center officially got underway earlier this year, with the goal of raising $16 million of the $37 million price tag for the center. The KCAC is slated to be a 4,800-square-metre, state-of-the-art building to be located on Highway 132, adjacent to the Kahnawake Survival School.

It will be the permanent home of the Kanien’kehá:ka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center (KORLCC), Museum, Turtle Island Theatre, and a Tourism Visitors Center.

The badly needed – and much-anticipated center – will fill a number of needs for the community, including giving the language center and museum a permanent home that reflect the importance of the mission.

The donation comes from Mohawk Online – is a socio-economic initiative wholly owned by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake and operates Sports Interaction in Canada, except in Ontario-- whose mandate is to re-invest revenues into the community. CEO Dean Montour said he was “proud” to be part of the investment.

“Mohawk Online Limited was created in 2015 as a socio-economic initiative, with a mandate to make donations to Kahnawake-based organizations that benefit the community; with a special emphasis on promoting Mohawk language, culture and traditions,” Montour said. “This project meets every aspect of our donation criteria and is a great example of how successful our community can be when we work together with a common goal. The Kahnawake Cultural Arts Center is a historic ‘legacy’ project for our community, and we are absolutely thrilled and honoured to be the lead donor to start off the Capital Campaign.”

KORLCC Executive Director Kawennanóron Lisa Phillips said the donation is one more step towards achieving the “dream” of having a new facility to call home.

“On behalf of the KORLCC Board of Directors and Staff, niawen’kó:wa to Mohawk Online for their support as lead donor of the KCAC initiative. This project is achieving the dream of a new facility for language, culture and the arts in our community, and it is with great joy and gratitude that we acknowledge Mohawk Online’s support and commitment,” she said.

Reservation Dogs star Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs – who began her acting career as a member of the Turtle Island Theatre and has joined the fundraising effort as a board member of the slated KCAC – said the donation will have positive effects on future generations of local artists, actors and creators.

“This generous donation means so much.” Jacobs said. “Beginning my acting career at the Turtle Island Theatre, it proved to be a vitally necessary resource in our community—not only for those interested in pursuing acting, but also as a creative outlet for all. The KCAC has the potential to shape our future generations with tools for creativity and access to our culture. This donation helps immensely in our efforts to make that happen.”

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase

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