Area lands funding for arts, culture

Queen’s Park may be in recess for the summer, but that doesn’t mean everything has ground to a halt.
Last Thursday, Culture minister Madeleine Meilleur made her first-ever trip to Northwestern Ontario, including Rainy River District, and she did not come empty-handed.
After making a stop in Atikokan, where she presented cheques totalling more than $30,000 for that town’s Intergenerational Centre for Arts and Alternatives, Meilleur arrived at Manitou Rapids, where she was greeted by Chief Albert Hunter, several elders, and the Manitou United Native Interactive Teens (M-UNIT).
After a tour of the resource centre there, Meilleur donated several books—all of which have won provincial awards. She also received a card and some gifts from M-UNIT.
“I was flattered and honoured by the welcome I received here,” Meilleur said as she accepted the gifts.
Meilleur stressed the significance the province puts on education and how impressed she was with the resource centre (library) that was first opened in 1999.
“Our government appreciates the role literacy plays in our knowledge-based society,” she stressed. “I know this library provides many programs for children.”
Meilleur also noted the role Lt.-Gov. James Bartleman, who also is of First Nation heritage, played in bringing literacy to the province’s remote and northern regions.
“Last year, the Lieutenant-Governor toured Northern Ontario and saw the importance of books to northern aboriginal communities,” she said.
“This is a priority for our government,” she stressed, adding the province already has invested $17 million in aboriginal education so far this year.
Afterwards, Meilleur took a few minutes to answer some questions regarding her impressions of her trip to date. The Ottawa-Vanier MPP had never been to this part of the province before and shared her observations.
“This is my first time here,” she acknowledged. “I find this to be a very engaging community and it’s a treat to myself to see them.”
After a light lunch at the resource centre, Meilleur headed for the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre at Manitou Mounds near Stratton, where she presented a cheque for $35,000 to the Manitou Mounds Foundation from the Cultural Strategic Investment Fund.
The money will be used to hire an educational specialist to work closely with local school boards in the development of a resource manual for classrooms and community groups.
The centre also is receiving $16,000 for the development of an exhibit featuring an aboriginal world view, including culturally-significant items such as a medicine wheel.