FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial and federal governments today announced a combined $1 million investment to Under One Sky to support the construction of the Awitgati Longhouse Cultural Centre on Main Street in Fredericton. The community facility will provide programs in wellness, culture, Indigenous knowledge, and skills training.

Under One Sky is an Indigenous-led not-for-profit organization and a member of the National Association of Friendship Centres.

“Our government is pleased to partner in this important project to build a strong and vibrant Indigenous community,” said Service New Brunswick Minister and minister responsible for housing, Jill Green. “Having a space dedicated to coming together, learning and sharing culture contributes to everyone’s wellbeing and provides opportunities to flourish.”

Green spoke on behalf of Réjean Savoie, the minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation.

The funding will support the construction of a 1,800 sq. metre (20,000 sq. ft.) net-zero carbon facility, which is intended to be a welcoming and inclusive space where people can gather in the spirit of community.

The provincial government will contribute $500,000 through the Regional Development Corporation towards the construction of the facility and the federal government will provide $500,000 through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

“Awitgati means ‘gathering place’ and is a fitting name for a centre that will be accessible, affordable, and inclusive to Indigenous peoples from all backgrounds,” Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin. “I am so pleased that the Government of Canada, through ACOA, is supporting this vital project, as it will have a lasting impact on Indigenous communities, not only here in Fredericton, but across Atlantic Canada.”

Atwin attended for Ginette Petitpas Taylor, federal minister of Official Languages and minister responsible for ACOA.

“Under One Sky’s vision for this project is to build a world class net-zero community facility which is vibrant, welcoming, and accessible. We are very grateful to the Government of Canada through ACOA, and the province through the Regional Development Corporation, for supporting our dream for a place that provides a safe space that offers health, social, and cultural services for all ages,” Patsy McKinney, executive director. “Our vision also involves creating spaces and opportunities for intercultural dialogue and relationship building. Ultimately, this will be a space that brings people together to celebrate and build community.”

Under One Sky has been in operation for over 15 years and is the only Friendship Centre in New Brunswick, home to over 29,000 Indigenous people.