Indigenous communities across Atlantic Canada are building on the potential of their resources and making innovative contributions to grow a strong economy. In Prince Edward Island, the Mi’kmaq First Nation communities will soon have a modern, central hub for developing and supporting cultural programming and Indigenous entrepreneurship, as well as providing social program and service delivery.
The Government of Canada knows that the success of Indigenous businesses is essential to building a strong, innovative and inclusive Canadian economy. That it why it is supporting PEI Mi’kmaq Holdings Inc. in creating an Urban Indigenous Centre on the Charlottetown waterfront. The 18,000-square-foot, three-storey building will provide a venue for business skills development and employment services, Indigenous program and service delivery, cultural tourism and several social entreprises, as well as leasable tenant space.
Sean Casey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard and Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, today announced $750,000 in federal funding for this project on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The Honourable Chris Palmer, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, represented the Government of Prince Edward Island, which had previously committed $2.2 million in support of the project.
This investment builds on commitments made by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces to drive economic growth in the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The strategy focuses on building a strong culture of innovation by supporting creative and entrepreneurial people, and improving opportunities for labour market participation for under-represented groups, like Indigenous peoples.
“This project marks an exciting and significant step in creating a more diverse, inclusive and, ultimately, stronger economy for Prince Edward Island. The Urban Indigenous Centre will recognize the rich cultural traditions that connect the Mi’kmaq First Nations communities of PEI, and will build on the innovative and sustainable economic plan they have been collaboratively developing with federal and provincial partners.”
- Sean Casey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, and Member of Parliament for Charlottetown
“We are proud to partner with the Mi’Kmaq Confederacy and the federal government on this important and exciting project. A rich and diverse culture is vital to the social and economic success of our province. We are confident this project will be of great benefit to the Island’s indigenous people and will give visitors and Islanders alike a greater opportunity to learn about the rich heritage and culture of the Mi’kmaq of PEI.”
- The Honourable Chris Palmer, PEI Minister of Economic Development and Tourism
“As a former Mi’kmaq Chief who worked closely on this project and as a current senator in the Parliament of Canada, I am filled with pride as this multidimensional facility is becoming a reality. The contribution by ACOA and the willingness to work with the First Nation Governments illustrates the positive results that can be accomplished when various levels of government work together with a cooperative spirit. This building will serve as a hub for economic, cultural and social programming activity to benefit the entire Indigenous community.”
- The Honourable Brian Francis, Senator, PEI
“On behalf of the First Nation Governments and the Indigenous Mi’kmaq of this province; I am delighted that the construction of our new building is underway. This multipurpose facitity will advance the economic development interests of the First Nations, provide much needed social programming for the urban Indigenous population, and serve as a cultural and business enterprise centre for the Mi’kmaq on the historic Charlottetown waterfront. We are very pleased that ACOA is a contributing partner on this important project as we strive to advance economic and other positive outcomes for the Mi’kmaq.”
- Chief Matilda Ramjattan, Lennox Island First Nation; Chair, Board of Directors, Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI and PEI Mi’kmaq Holdings Inc.
- Project support for construction of the new multi-purpose facility to foster Indigenous economic development in Prince Edward Island comes from ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund, and Innovation PEI
- There are two First Nations in PEI: Lennox Island First Nation near Tyne Valley, and the Abegweit Mi’kmaw Nation with reserves in Scotchfort, Rocky Point and Green Meadows. The project will support both on and off-reserve Indigenous people in Prince Edward Island.
- PEI Mi’kmaq Holdings Inc. is owned by both the Lennox Island First Nation and the Abegweit Mi’kmaw Nation, and governed by the respective Band Councils.
- Plans for the Urban Indigenous Centre include: a commercial kitchen; artisan craft space; cultural demonstrations; retail and interpretive areas; a multi-functional performance area; video production and training space; a rooftop patio/urban garden; and an urban delivery point for Indigenous social programming and services offered by the Mi’kmaq Confederacy.
Left to right: Chief Matilda Ramjattan, MP Sean Casey, Minister Chris Palmer, Senator Brian Francis