FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 16, 2017
CAFN Announces Grand Opening of Dákwänjē Kų̀
Dakwäkäda (Haines Junction) – The Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) is pleased to announce the grand opening of Dákwänjē Kų̀, its brand new Southern Tutchone immersion daycare, on November 16, 2017.
“The opening of the Dákwänjē Kų̀ language hub is an important and exciting step in CAFN’s continued work to revitalize and practice dän k’e (our ways) and dákwänje (our language). We are thankful for the support of community members and the investments by the governments of Canada and Yukon in expanding the role of Da Kų Cultural Centre as the central hub for many activities for everyone in Dakwäkäda (Haines Junction).”
Dän Nätthe ada Kaaxnox (Chief Steve Smith)
“This investment is a community-building project to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. And there’s no better way to mark this milestone than to celebrate the places that bring us together—the places that allow us to connect with our friends and neighbours, that fosters community-building and learning, and that preserves the heritage of indigenous communities. That’s how we establish the bonds of common understanding and friendship in a country where people come from every corner of the world. The values of openness, diversity and inclusion that define all Canadians are forged in our community spaces.”
Larry Bagnell, Member of Parliament for Yukon
“We are very pleased to support the daycare and language hub and excited about the cultural benefits it will bring to the children, families and members of the community. Initiatives such as this one recognize local needs and work to enhance community development through local solutions – which is so important to our rural communities. This infrastructure is an excellent example of cultural revitalization in action.”
Minister Ranj Pillai, Deputy Premier and Minister of Economic Development
CAFN Elder Paddy Jim described the new space as Däzhąw Dunèna Dän Kwänjē Kenīdän (Here we teach children dan kwanjè”), which aptly describes the purpose of the new facility in ensuring that dän k’e (our way) is vibrant and alive within our children and Elders.
The Dákwänjē Kų̀ language hub, located at Da Kų Cultural Centre, is a great example of the meaningful results that can be achieved through partnership at the local, territorial and federal level. Champagne and Aishihik First Nations is happy to celebrate this important achievement together with our CAFN Citizens, the community of Haines Junction, Yukon First Nations, and our funding partners, the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon.
Dákwänjē Kų̀ (Language House) is a 3,100 square foot daycare that will be housed in the expansion and open to all children in the community, with learning rooted in our Southern Tutchone language and culture. The maximum capacity is 31 children, a dramatic increase from the former daycare space for up to 16 children. The daycare is open to all children in the community ages 18 months to five years.
Funding: The Government of Canada, through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), contributed $450,000 to a Da Kų Cultural Centre building expansion through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program. The Government of Yukon contributed $150,000 to the project through its Community Development Fund. Champagne and Aishihik First Nations also invested $688,000 in the project.
CAFN Language Programs: The CAFN Culture and Language Departments will provide support to deliver culturally relevant programming and develop language curriculum in order to revitalize our Indigenous language and culture and build an immersive foundation for our children.
Da Kų Cultural Centre, the site of the new Dákwänjē Kų̀ daycare, is a 27,000 square foot cultural facility located in Dakwäkäda (Haines Junction) and owned by the CAFN government. Da Kų (Our House) celebrates the culture and traditions of the CAFN Dän (people). It is is a teaching, curatorial and interpretive facility, providing programming directed to CAFN Citizens as well as the general public. Da Kų Cultural Centre is also home to Parks Canada’s Kluane National Park Visitor Centre, and Yukon Government’s Visitor Information Centre.
For more information:
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
Government of Yukon