The Kahnawà:ke Cultural Arts Center

A hub to celebrate and promote Kanien’kehá:ka culture

Kanien’kéha is one of the 2,600 languages around the world that are in danger of disappearing, according to the UN. Over the last 400 years or so, the necessity for the Kahnawà:ke community of adapting to its surrounding realities often relegated its language and culture to the backburner. By the middle of the 1970s, it was evi­dent that the community was in danger of losing its language completely.

In response, the Kanien’kehá:ka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center (KORLCC) was created in 1978, and continues to be at the center of what has become a resurgence of the Kanien’kehá:ka identity. The mission of the KORLCC is to encourage members of the Kahnawà:ke community to practice, maintain, respect, embrace and preserve the Kanien’kéha language, beliefs, values, customs and traditions. In so doing, it supports the continued existence of the language and fosters awareness and pride in the Kanien’kéha heritage.

But the community has now taken the next step, the Kahnawà:ke Cultural Arts Center : a new, state-of-the-art facility that will celebrate Kanien’kehá:ka history, art, music and language, and become a beacon of Onkwehonwe knowledge. The KCAC plans to offer, among many other initiatives, a teen theater club, improv classes, audition workshops, concerts, lectures and presentations, a museum featuring many exhibits, as well as guided tours, field trips and demonstrations.

Supported by the community, the KORLCC entered into a partnership with the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, Turtle Island Theatre and Kahnawà:ke Tourism to begin planning for the construction of this large-scale, multi-purpose building and auditorium. The Kahnawà:ke Cultural Arts Center will serve as a community hub where all will be welcome. In April of 2023, the capital campaign aiming to raise the necessary funds has hit its halfway mark, with FGM being one of the most recent contributors along with the McConnell and Montreal Canadiens Foundations. The federal and provincial governments have also chipped in. Best of luck to the Kahnawà:ke community in this ambitious and honorable endeavour!