Ontario investing in First Nations’ economic development on Manitoulin Island

MANITOULIN—The Ontario government is investing in initiatives in and around Manitoulin Island to support First Nations communities in creating culturally relevant infrastructure and services that improve the local economy.

“Today’s investment will help expand employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for Indigenous peoples in Ontario,” said David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “Health, culture and the arts contribute to fully developing talent in First Nations communities. This is an important step in Ontario’s journey of reconciliation and will create a better future for everyone in this province.”

The Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory is receiving funding of $100,000 to design a new residential healing lodge. The new facility will provide crisis intervention and treatment services by housing a residential family healing program, an adult grief program and a youth program. It would be an expansion of Ngwaagan Gamig Recovery Centre, which offers prevention and treatment services for drug, alcohol and gaming addictions.

The Ojibwe Cultural Foundation is receiving $75,669 from the province in funding to expand its cultural programming for tourists and the arts community through youth engagement and improving outreach to school boards, establishing a summer youth internship program, creating an online cultural resource hub and developing, an “elder in residence” program.

As well, $39,065 is being provided to the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising for a feasibility study to construct a building to house an Indigenous legal court and office space.

Mary Jo Wabano, health services director, Wiikwemikoong Health Centre said, “Wiikwemikoong Unceded Territory is pleased that the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program is providing funding for our next phase of work towards the long-term goal of building a healing lodge. The lodge will help provide important, culturally based healing for our community members.”
“This funding will help create the capacity the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation needs to expand its cultural programming and outreach,” said Anong Beam, executive director of OCF. “Culture, arts and youth engagement are important parts of a thriving First Nation and key aspects of reconciliation.”