Indigenous organization gets cash infusion for expansion


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A city Indigenous program hub is fundraising to expand into a full campus with healing spaces, a community kitchen and butterfly garden.

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A city Indigenous program hub is fundraising to expand into a full campus with healing spaces, a community kitchen and butterfly garden.

Ka Ni Kanichihk on McDermot Avenue, which has a daycare, youth programs, advocacy services and employment supports, wants to expand to 22,000 square feet from 8,700 sq. ft. at a cost of about $8 million.

“One of the things that we said right from the get-go is that we’re going to grow out of this space really quickly, and we have… All of our services are adaptable and community-led,” said associate executive director Dana Connolly at a funding announcement Tuesday.

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Sydney Levasseur-Puhach (left), co-chair, and Dana Connolly, associate executive director of Ka Ni Kanichihk outside the centre following an announcement of a $100,000 contribution from Manitoba’s credit unions for the centre's planned expansion.

The organization, which has been open for more than 20 years and serves about 1,500 people annually, has hit capacity. The hope is that with the expansion, 3,000 Manitobans can benefit from its programming yearly.

The building would be renovated and an outdoor gathering space for community events added, along with more daycare spots, traditional and modern health care resources and teaching and training programs.

The organization could partner with Red River College Polytech to offer educational and training programs, as well as anti-oppressive cultural awareness training to non-Indigenous organizations.

The project can begin breaking ground later this summer thanks in part to a $100,000 contribution from Manitoba’s credit unions.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its calls to action had a very clear message to Canada’s business community, to educate employees on the legacy and impact of colonization on Indigenous peoples,” said Brendan Reimer of Assiniboine Credit Union.

“While credit unions have taken some constructive first steps in this regard, we recognize and acknowledge that we need to do much more. This collective investment and Ka Ni Kanichihk is an action we’re taking together as one more step toward reconciliation.”

In April, Ka Ni Kanichihk received $1.8 million from the federal government. Fundraising has surpassed the $6-million mark.

Malak Abas

Malak Abas

Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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