Quebec: KOR calls MCK language initiative duplication of services

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Jan 20 14:59:59 UTC 2007

KOR calls MCK language initiative duplication of services
author: Jordan Standup

Kanienkehaka Onkwawen:na Raotitiohkwa Cultural Center Executive Director
Donna Goodleaf feels that a new Kanienkeha language initiative recently
announced by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake is a duplication of services.
In October, Goodleaf said that she submitted a proposal to the MCK
requesting additional and permanent funding for the KOR. She said that
just a few weeks after sending the proposal, she received a letter
notifying her that the request was turned down. According to Goodleaf, KOR
was turned down because the MCK was already halfway through its financial
spending year. She was, however, asked to submit another proposal in

Then, earlier this month, Goodleaf said she noticed that the MCK had a job
posting for a language coordinator. Last weeks episode of the MCKs
information program, Kwatokent TV, featured a small segment on the new
language program. I wondered where the money for this program was coming
from because just a few weeks earlier, we (KOR) were turned down for
additional funding, Goodleaf said. Its a duplication of services. If that
money (for the MCK program) was given to the Cultural Center instead, then
it would have been used to fund our existing language programs, which are
open to the entire community, not just one organization, said Goodleaf.
She also said that the language programs for the MCK could have been
offered through the KOR, however, according to Goodleaf, it was never
approached to do so.

With that money, we could have hired more language coordinators to help
the MCK with this language program, she said. Additionally, the money
would have helped us to put on more cultural workshops for the community,
Goodleaf asserted. According to Goodleaf, the KOR receives $250,000 a year
for operations and to fund programs. However, Goodleaf says it is just not
enough. We need permanent funding. We have never had core funding. Weve
had to fundraise so that we can keep some of our programs operational and
we shouldnt have to do that, she said.

Goodleaf also pointed out that the KOR is mandated to promote and teach
language and culture in the community, and feels that the KOR now has to
compete with the MCK language initiative for funding. She also said the
KOR wants to supply the community with quality services, and in order to
do so, it needs additional funding. Graduates from the Kanienkeh:ka
Ratiwennahn:rats program have been asking if there would be a phase two,
but we are struggling for funds for phase one, Goodleaf said. What I dont
understand is how the MCK can keep building and building when there are
some organizations that are still struggling, said Goodleaf. I wonder how
the community feels about all this, she said.

Goodleaf is going to be working on a new proposal, which she will submit
to the MCK in January. She is hopeful that the KOR will receive additional
funding, saying she would like to get permanent funding for two important
KOR programs: Kanienkeh:ka Ratiwennahn:rats and T:ta tnon Ohkw:ri. MCK
Chief Martin Leborgne said that initially, he felt this was a duplication
of services until he learned that a few years back, the MCK had asked the
KOR to help with a language program but was told that it had to do it on
its own. I did agree with the KOR in the beginning, not knowing that they
had been asked about this in the past. I dont feel that this is a
duplication of services, Leborgne said.

I think it is a good thing, Leborgne said of the MCK language program. It
is not only a policy that MCK employees try and use more Kanienkha, its
the law, said Leborgne, who also noted that the funding for the program
came from surplus dollars set aside throughout the year. I believe every
entity within the MCK should have its own Kanienkha teacher so everyone
can learn, he said. We should all have the opportunity to learn and use
the language, Leborgne asserted. He is hopeful that the new language
program will begin sometime early in the New Year.

jordans at


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