Copps to open mounds historical centre

Canadian Heritage minister Sheila Copps will be on hand for the grand opening of the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre this Friday around 3:30 p.m.
Being held in conjunction with the Rainy River First Nation’s annual fish fry, half-hour guided tours of the centre will begin at 2 p.m., with the fish fry starting around 4 p.m.
Local MP Robert Nault will be joining Copps at the event.
“This is the big official opening of the facility,” Nault said. “We wanted to recognize the importance of this heritage site by the Canadian government and the best way to do that is by the minister in charge.”
Curator Stacey Bruyere found it fitting that Copps will be on hand for the official opening.
“It just emphasizes Canadian heritage,” she said. “We are not just a centre for the Rainy River First Nation. We’re a centre for Canada, the district, North America.
“Everyone should be proud of us,” she added.
Although the main part of the historical centre’s building was completed last summer, work over the past year has seen a gift shop and restaurant added onto the facility.
Meanwhile, Bruyere admitted things are “a zoo” as they get the centre ready for Friday’s grand opening. “Our display cases are in and they’re putting a diorama, which is a big walk-through display,” she noted.
The display, called “Life on the River,” depicts Ojibway life back in the 1850s. Bruyere figured the display would be under development for the next year but it already is fairly impressive.
“I was down there this morning and they were constructing one big display,” noted Chief Jim Leonard. “People will have a good idea what it will look like and visualize what it will be like.”
Chief Leonard said this project has been a long time coming. But after 30 years of waiting, he was certain the centre would become a source of pride for his community.
“It’s exceeded expectations,” he said. “I never envisioned actually seeing this day.”
“It’s almost surreal,” echoed Bruyere. “It’s like, ‘Wow, we’re finally going to be open.’”
The historical centre will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with admission costing $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $3 for children.
Bruyere said bus tours already have been booked for the summer, and Nault said this is one of the strong points about the centre.
“It’s not only celebrating the history of a First Nation but it’s also economically an exciting new venture,” he enthused.