The Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s (KDFN’s) Nàkwät’à Kų̀ (Potlatch House) in the McIntyre subdivision will be expanded and improved thanks, in part, to a $375,000 federal government grant.
Navdeep Bains, the federal minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), made the announcement Monday.
The Nàkwät’à Kų̀ is a central gathering place for citizens of Kwanlin Dün, other Yukon First Nations, and the broader Whitehorse community.
The renovations will reflect the culture, art, and history of the people of Kwanlin Dün, better equip the building to meet mounting use, and improve safety and functionality of the community space.
“With the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (CIP 150), we are making a real, positive impact in communities across Canada,” Yukon MP Larry Bagnell said in a
“Investing in these renovations will improve a safe and welcoming space for the indigenous people of Kwanlin Dün First Nation.
“Open community spaces like the Nàkwät’à Kų̀ are what bring people together to both celebrate our individuality and promote community-wide collaboration.”
CanNor is contributing $375,000 in addition to a $50,000 investment from the KDFN and $75,000 from the Government of Yukon.
“Nàkwät’à Kų̀ is a significant meeting place for our citizens and the people of Whitehorse,” said KDFN Chief Doris Bill.
“The renovations we are undertaking provide work to our businesses, improve the safety of and accessibility for all who visit here and, most importantly, reflect our culture, traditions and history.
“ Nàkwät’à Kų̀ means potlatch house,” the chief added.
“Potlatches are an important part of First Nation tradition – once denied, and now revived.
“Potlatches are gatherings that not only mark the passing of a life but also celebrate major events such as births and weddings; here, in this building, we have also hosted potlatches to celebrate the land.”
Thanking CanNor and the Community Development Fund for their financial contributions, the chief said the money will “improve and prolong the existence of this important community building.”
“The improved functionality of the Nàkwät'à Kų̀ Potlatch House will ensure it remains a central community gathering space for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Whitehorse community for years to come,” said Ranj Pillai, the minister of Economic Development.
“Spaces like the Nàkwät'à Kų̀ are vital to community well-being, and I look forward to the positive social and economic benefits that the Potlatch House will continue to bring its community.”
As outlined in Budget 2016, an additional $150 million will be provided over two years for CIP 150, bringing the total funding available to $300 million across the country.
The program supports projects to renovate, expand and improve spaces such as community centres, parks and arenas across Canada as part of the federal government of Canada’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.
CIP 150 is delivered by CanNor in the North.