Dákwänjē Kų̀ Language Hub and Daycare Project at Da Kų

Dákwänjē Kų̀ Language Hub and Daycare Project at Da Kų

We are very excited to announce the opening of the Dákwänjē Kų̀ (Language House) expansion of Da Ku Cultural Centre on November 16, 2017.

  • Opening Dákwänjē Kų̀ is the next step in our journey to revitalize dän k’e (our ways) and dákwänje (our language).
  • Dákwänjē Kų̀ provides a much-needed larger daycare space, which will be rooted in learning and practicing our traditional language and culture, bringing our youngest learners together with our Elders.
  • Dákwänjē Kų̀ is an investment that expands on the role of Da Ku Cultural Centre as an important hub for activity with benefits to the whole community in Dakwakada (Haines Junction).

Dákwänjē Kų̀ (Language House) is a 3,100 square foot daycare housed in the Da Ku 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 big 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. The total cost was about $1.3 Million.

Construction/Jobs: Construction began this June. The lead contractor was Grey Wolf. About 33 jobs were created in order to construct the new facility.  Construction is complete and the building officially opens during a Grand Opening event on November 16, 2017 from 4 to 6 p.m.

CAFN Language Programs: The CAFN Culture and Language Departments will provide support to deliver cultural programming and develop language curriculum in order to build an immersive foundation for our children. The Adult Immersion program currently in development at CAFN will help train teachers to staff the daycare.

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.

When will the children move into the daycare?  The week of November 27.

When will Dákwänjē Kų̀ begin delivering full language immersion?  We are currently building our Adult Immersion program with language instructor Khasha. We expect to start training new language teachers in 2018 to teach in the daycare. However, we are also building in language and culture programming and time with our Elders and other language experts now.

When will CAFN be accepting new children in the daycare?   We are not accepting new children in the daycare yet. We are in the process of developing a transition plan to expand and train more staff. Please watch for more details. We’ll be sure to let the community know when we are accepting more children.

Is the daycare only open to CAFN children?  It is open to everyone. We will be accepting children from all families living in the Haines Junction area.

See the news release for more details at http://cafn.ca/cafn-announces-grand-opening-dakwanje-ku/

Da Kų Vision

Our Cultural Centre is a gathering place that recognizes and celebrates the cultural contributions and way of life of Champagne and Aishihik First Nations peoples – the places we come from, the traditions and languages we carry, and the arts we practice and perform. It is an environment creating lasting memories, where young people will learn the wisdom of our Elders, know our stories and legends, and assume responsibility to carry our values.

This project is funded in part by the Yukon government’s Community Development Fund.