Today, Jaime Battiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities; Chief Leroy Denny, Eskasoni First Nation, and Chief Terry Paul, Membertou First Nation, announced over $4.8 million in combined funding to construct a new building that will support learning, research and the sharing of Mi’kmaq traditional knowledge.
Funding will go towards the construction of a net-zero carbon facility to house both the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR) and the Mi’kmaq Environmental Learning Centre (MELC). The five Mi’kmaq communities of Unama’ki (Eskasoni, Membertou, Potlotek, Wagmatcook, and We’koqma’q) will benefit from the facility, which will be able to host community gatherings and deliver education and outreach programming. In addition, there will be a library, a laboratory, and space for staff to conduct scientific and academic research. The facility will be important for encouraging the intergenerational transfer of traditional knowledge and advancing Indigenous-led conservation.
The UINR is a trusted voice for the five Mi’kmaq communities in Unama’ki, also known as Cape Breton, on natural resources issues. It conducts environmental monitoring, education and management and an overall better understanding and protection of the Unama’ki ecosystem. The MELC preserves the knowledge, traditions and values of Mi’kmaq Elders on environmental sustainability. Providing these organizations a modern and energy efficient facility will support them in fulfilling their respective missions.
The Government of Canada is investing over $4.4 million for this project, while over $427,000 is being provided by the UINR.