Three Manitoulin Island First Nation organizations see provincial funding

MANITOULIN—The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation announced the funding of three projects across Manitoulin Island last week with the aim of “creating culturally relevant infrastructure and services that improve the local economy.”

Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory is receiving funding to design a new residential healing lodge. The new facility would 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 (Rainbow Lodge), which offers prevention and treatment services for drug, alcohol and gaming addictions.

In M’Chigeeng, the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation (OCF) is receiving funding to expand its cultural programing 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.

Anong Beam, executive director at the OCF, said she was thankful for the funding but noted the lack of stability for recurring funding the OCF receives.

“We’ve been good at keeping on keeping on,” she admits.

Ms. Beam said the OCF is expanding its outdoor space and kitchen to become a part of the studio. She gave the example of how, in the past, the OCF would host a drum making workshop. Now people will be invited to come in the fall and learn about harvesting deer—the butchering and meat preparation followed by taking the hide into the studio and moving on to utilize it there as the drum skin for the eventual drum making workshop. “Everything is getting pretty holistic,” Ms. Beam explains.

Upcoming events include a March 6 maple sugar candy making workshop, an International Women’s Day activities on Thursday, March 8 and a March Break full of great family fun.

The OCF is also working on digitizing its archives.

Almost $40,000 is also being funded to the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising for a feasibility study to construct a building which will house an Indigenous legal court as well as office space.

Calls to UCCMM executive director Hazel Recollet and Wiikwemkoong Chief Duke Peltier for more information on the proposed court space and healing lodge, respectively, were not returned as of press time Monday.

“Wiikwemkoong 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,” Mary Jo Wabano, Health Services Director, Wikwemikong Health Centre, said in a press release. “The lodge will help provide important, culturally based healing for our community members.”