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HomeNewsIsland & CoastTla’amin Nation blesses ground ahead of Ɂəms ʔayɛ construction

Tla’amin Nation blesses ground ahead of Ɂəms ʔayɛ construction

The first cultural centre will be constructed in Tla’amin territory in over 200 years, after a ground blessing from the Nation.

Called Ɂəms ʔayɛ (uhms aya) or “Our House,” it will include a 2,000 square foot feast hall and cultural gathering space which can have up to 350 guests and be used for sharing songs, dances, ceremony and feasting.

A small museum will also be part of the centre. It will be climate-controlled and store cultural treasures and Tla’amin material culture. There will also be a language lab and recording studio to transmit Ayaajuthum from one generation of Tla’amin to the next.

The Nation adds it will also play a vital role in promoting Tla’amin language, culture, food security and well-being.

Hegus John Hackett says the new building is 20 years in the making and is essential to the survival of Tla’amin ways of knowing and being.

“Our language, laws, and way of life come from this land, and it’s our responsibility to uphold the relationships that we have sustained for thousands of years,” said Hackett.

“Ɂəms ʔayɛ is going to be a teaching ground and a place to transmit ʔəms taʔaw (our teachings) and to prepare the next generation of Tla’amin people to carry on our sacred responsibilities.”

Ɂəms ʔayɛ will also have a commercial kitchen, onsite office space and a traditional food processing facility will be located adjacent to the centre.

Funding for the project was announced in 2022. The Canadian government contributed $3,159,508 through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream and the province contributed over $1 million.

Tla’amin director of Public Works and Capital Infrastructure Carmen Galligos says the Nation has been working on the design plans for over five years.

“We have taken our time to ensure these buildings are designed intentionally as teaching sites and with the comfort of Elders at the forefront,” said Galligos.

“Thank you to Brandon Bresden, our project manager, for pulling together community input, cultural staff needs, and constructability to get us to this stage.”

Municipal Affairs minister Anne Kang adds the province is “honoured to be a partner in supporting this vital project.”

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