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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

Inauguration of the Wemotaci Youth Centre

Wemotaci, December 10, 2004 - Mr. Ernest Awashish, Grand Chief of the Atikamekw Nation, Mr. François Néashit, Chief of the Wemotaci Atikamekw Council, Mr. Benoît Pelleter, Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs, and the Honourable Andy Scott, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, take pleasure in announcing the inauguration of the Wemotaci Youth Centre.

"I am delighted to see this project that is essential for our youth come to a conclusion, declared Mr. Ernest Awashish, the Grand Chief of the Atikamekw Nation. The youth will finally benefit from a tailor-made facility designed to respond to their needs. They will now finally have a place that can provide a multitude of opportunities to create, exchange, reflect and undertake future projects, which I hope will be beneficial for the Atikamekw Nation."

"The Métis and Inuit communities as well as First Nation communities are young communities that possess great potential and are ready to carve out a place for themselves in society. They constitute a segment of the population that is experiencing strong growth in Canada which will lead to a growing contribution to the workforce and the governing class in Canada. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is a proud partner in the realization of this project that favours youth involvement in community life. They can expect to benefit from new and enriching experiences that will better prepare them for the future", declared the Honourable Andy Scott.

Located in the heart of the community, the Youth Centre is a meeting place for the Wemotaci youth that includes:

  • A lounge to exchange and relax;
  • A multi-media room equipped with computers, video games and a television;
  • An art room to express the talent of painters, designers and craftsmen;
  • A reading room;
  • A large hall for dances, receptions and sports (ping pong, soccer and table hockey);
  • A kitchenette for snacks.

"The Wemotaci Youth Centre is the embodiment of a dream that has been shared by all youth in the community for several years. This Centre provides them with a fresh start, underscored Mr. François Néashit, Chief of the Wemotaci Atikamekw Council. Henceforth, they may dare to dream and hope."

Minister Benoît Pelletier declared, "I am proud that the Québec government contributed to the realization of this project that will instil hope and allow a good number of young Atikameks to experience enriching meetings and exploit their talents in the fields of sports, culture and the arts. I am convinced that the Wemotaci Youth Centre will constitute a gathering place that will foster the foundation of a promising future for the community inspired by the dreams and aspirations of its youth."

This project also contributes to the economic development of the community as it will create four new jobs: three at the Youth Centre and one related to a healthy lunch program that will be offered as of January.

The project evaluated at $1.5 million would not have been possible without the financial contribution of the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones in the amount of $767,500, the Wemotaci Atikamekw Council in the amount of $525,000 and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in the amount of $200,000.

The Atikamekw Nation

The Atikamekw Nation includes more than 5,500 individuals residing in Québec, the vast majority of which live in the three following communities: Manawan, located in the Lanaudière region, Opitciwan, located on the North shore of the Gouin reservoir, in the upper St. Maurice, and Wemotaci, located northwest of La Tuque, also in the upper St. Maurice. These three communities occupy a territory that totals close to 70,000 km2. It is important to note that 60% of the Atikamekw population is in the 25 or less age group. Forestry, tourism, traditional handicrafts and services to the population are currently among the main economic activities within the communities.

Source :

Sandrine Brindejonc
Communications Coordinator
Grand Chief and Negotiations Office
Atikamekw Nation Council
Telephone: (819) 523-6153, ext. 116
Cellular: (819) 676-6418
E-mail: sbrindejonc@atikamekwsipi.com

Information:

Alexandra Awashish
Advisor responsible for Youth
Wemotaci Atikamekw Council
Telephone: (819) 666-2241

Hélène Philippe
Regional Communications Manager
Québec Regional Office
Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Telephone: (418) 648-7675

Dami Croteau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs
(418) 646-5950

Signature gouvernementale
Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
905, avenue Honoré-Mercier, 1er étage - Québec (Qc)  G1R 5M6 - 418 643-3166

Online as if : December 13, 2004