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Awitgati Longhouse and Culture Centre project receives government funding

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Aug 4, 2022

Category: UNB Fredericton

A new Indigenous health and social facility, led by the Under One Sky Friendship Centre in Fredericton, received $19 million in funding from the federal and provincial governments.  

The Awitgati Longhouse and Culture Centre will be a net-zero carbon facility and serve as a gathering place to celebrate and support Indigenous people and culture. It will provide programs and services for all community members in four priority areas: health and wellness; education, skills and training; arts and culture; and gathering and community building. The spaces will be inclusive, affordable and accessible. The facility will replace Under One Sky’s existing building on Fredericton’s north side. 

The $19 million in funding comes from $18.5 million invested by the Government of Canada through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program, land valued at $284,000 donated by the provincial government and $400,000 pledged by Under One Sky. The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc (LLB'92), Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin (BA’09, MEd’15), the Honourable Jill Green (BScCE'95), Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure for New Brunswick, and Kate Rogers (BA'92, MA'95), Mayor of Fredericton, attended the announcement on July 14. 

Dr. Jason Hickey, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Indigenous Research Chair in Nursing at the University of New Brunswick, has supported the project. He co-led the feasibility study and funding application for the building. He will now serve on the advisory committee as the project moves forward.  

“Generous funding provided by Infrastructure Canada will enable the development of an innovative space for culturally informed, evidence-based programs and services to support the wellbeing of Indigenous people in the province,” said Dr. Hickey. “The centre will enable reclamation and revitalization of Indigenous healing practices while creating exciting new opportunities for research collaborations and experiential learning for UNB students, faculty and staff. My contribution to this project would not have been possible without the research chair funding provided to me by the CIHR, New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and the Canadian Nurses Foundation, or without support from the faculty of nursing at UNB.” 

Through collaboration with Under One Sky, UNB students and researchers have been able to learn, develop allyship and understanding, and provide academic support to community members. The new centre will have additional dedicated learning space and programming to increase and enhance these mutually beneficial opportunities. 

The Awitgati Longhouse and Culture Centre project application included support from the university. Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle, UNB’s president and vice-chancellor, and other leaders wrote letters championing the proposal.  

“Under One Sky’s vision for a net-zero Indigenous Longhouse is a bold example of social change,” said Dr. Mazerolle. “This proposed project offers exciting opportunities for everyone in our community and will be an important resource for those seeking support. We look forward to additional collaborations with the centre, allowing UNB to continue building upon its commitment to reconciliation and reconcili-action.” 

“Under One Sky is grateful to receive this funding,” said Elder Patsy McKinney, executive director of Under One Sky and a UNB’s Elders’ Council member. “This Longhouse and Cultural Centre will be a place that revitalizes, celebrates and embraces Indigenous people from all backgrounds. This modern-day longhouse is grounded in the values of the Mi’kmaw and Wolastoqey cultures – values of trust, respect and inclusion.” 

Media contact: Kelsey Pye
Photo: Under One Sky staff members perform a song following the Awitgati Longhouse and Cultural Centre funding announcement on July 14. Credit: Kelsey Pye/UNB