A local hotel project raises questions


Visitor check-in time will begin soon in Kahnawake.

A private hotel project in development since 2015 will receive support from the provincial government, as announced on November 26.

“We were happy to launch this because in Montreal, we have a lot of indigenous tourism opportunities, so with this project, we will have something specific to Kahnawake”, declared the Minister of Native Affairs of Quebec, Ian Lafrenière, at The Eastern Door.

“It remains a private project that we support economically, but the owners and the band council will establish their own way of doing things.”

The announcement of a contribution of $ 3.3 million from the Quebec Native Initiatives Fund (AIF) was made by Lafrenière on the closing day of the Grand Cercle économique des Aut autochtones et du Québec which was held in Montreal on November 25 and 26.

As the two-day event focused on the inclusion of Indigenous peoples in the province’s economy, Lafrenière said it was an opportune time to share the news.

Meanwhile, Kahnawake Mohawk Council (MCK) Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer was quick to set the record straight after the initial report failed to provide details of the property’s ownership. project.

“This was not an MCK initiative and I think there is a lot of misinformation in our community about it right now,” Sky-Deer said. “(However) any money that comes to our community – whether through the Quebec government or the federal government – is a victory in my eyes. ”

Following a series of questions from Kahnawa’kehró: No, Peter Paul introduced himself as the owner of the Kahnawake hotel project through a press release on November 30.

According to Paul, the initiative was established with the help of the Tewatohnhi’saktha Economic Development Commission in 2015 and has received council support since 2017. Submission of the AIF proposal was completed in the same year.

“As the agreements are still being finalized, we did not yet intend to make a public statement on our project, however, given the release of this positive news, we felt the need to reach out to our Kahnawake community, ”the press release read.

As details await, Paul confirmed that the hotel to be located on Route 207 is expected to have two or three floors, with 36 to 38 rooms, as well as additional space designed for amenities, including a lobby, conference rooms and a dining room.

“The Kahnawake Hotel Project is designed to host local events such as sports tournaments, golf, Echoes of a Proud Nation powwows and all other organizational, recreational and business needs of the community,” a statement said. by Paul published on December 1.

With construction set to begin in spring 2022, the owner also confirmed that the hotel will be under a chain banner, which is currently under determination.

While the hotel project was presented at the Grand Circle conference as a radiant opportunity for tourism and economic income possibilities, reactions among the Kahnawa’kehró: no were mixed.

“Is it necessary? No. Will it benefit the community in the long run? This is a double-edged sword because it is a private company, so the investors benefit while the community only benefits because it will open up employment opportunities, ”said Brandon Thonsahkótha Cross, adding that the job requirements are likely to also affect the people who can benefit from these employment opportunities.

Knowing that the hotel was a private company, Cross argued that the MCK should nevertheless have consulted with Kahnawa’kehró: no.

“It needs to be brought to the attention of the community whether it’s private or not,” he said. “We are a small town and this is our home, we don’t want it to be built in a metropolis.”

Another member of the community further raised questions regarding respect for Dafa and the need for community consultation.

“Our land has been scarce since colonization and that’s all we have left. But that’s not a concern for some people because as long as it benefits non-locals, that’s all that matters, ”Tekahnekake Stacey said. “This is why we are so divided.”

While she respects the fact that this is an individual business plan, Stacey also said she found it inappropriate for private projects to take precedence over community initiatives such as buildings to accommodate children. housing units required.

“The biggest worry for me is that our home is being taken more and more away from us,” said the Kahnawa’kehró: no. “Our land is sacred, our land is rare and our community is growing. I don’t feel safe – and I don’t feel at home.

The mix of responses across town, however, did not deter MCK from voicing support for the multi-million dollar project.

“We have a lot to offer as a community,” Sky-Deer said. “This is a really exciting time and we hope more people will look to potential businesses where there might be a void right now so that they can tap into business models that take advantage of a potential tourism market. ”

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