Kanata Village is a reproduction Longhouse and interpretative centre with a sad history. It sits on 16 acres of City owned land in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Originally proposed in 1996 it was built by a native group and opened in 2000. Unfortunately fund raising efforts failed and it only managed to open thanks to a federal grant of $220,000. After only 3 short years it was burned down by arsonists. Most of the village was rebuilt but if you look closely in the photo you will see that a section of the fence was left as charred wood as a reminder of the fire. Unfortunately Pine Tree the native group responsible for Kanata and several other native services in the area collapsed under a mountain of debt and mismanagement in 2005.
Since then the trees and the grass had grown unchecked swallowing up the remains of Kanata and the dream of reopening it. The neglect and decay of the site became a symbol of the increasing tensions between neighbours in the region. Different native groups made different claims to the site while the city continued to claim ownership.
In 2009 an attempt was made by a native group to reopen the Cultural Centre building to offer Health Care and other services to area natives. Other native groups protested the idea of anyone paying rent to the city of Brantford or any other level of government for land they felt was rightfully theirs and the Centre was forced to make a hasty retreat to a less suitable location.
As of late 2009 it seemed Woodland Cultural Centre and Kanata Village would remain an Allegory depicting all that was wrong with the relationships between Natives and Non Natives in Brantford and infighting Native Factions. This spring though a miracle happened. A group of Natives quietly gained access to the site. Instead of shouting from the rooftops their defiance they chose instead to quietly cut the grass and clear the trees. Other natives supplied furs and crafts. Instead of sending the police the city of Brantford quietly sent a representative to let them know that they would continue to pay for the utilities.
When we happened upon the reopened Kanata by chance the change was stunning. We were left by ourselves to roam the Longhouse and take in the grounds. Standing in silence in the Longhouse with the smell of freshly burned fires had an almost spiritual quality.
Afterwards I enjoyed a pleasant chat with Floyd one of the new caretakers of this reborn gem. No admission was charged and I was told everyone was welcome. They are having dinners and various social activities and all are welcome. A pleasant change and a fresh start for an area sorely in need of one.
You can find Kanata Village in Brantford, Ontario, Canada at 440 Mohawk Street. Check your attitude at the door and tell Floyd I said Hi.
I am happy to say that as of July 7, 2010 this image now has 116 views so I am submitting it to the 100-499 Views group. This image was also featured in the Canadian Historical and Pioneer Sites group in June 2010. Thanks all for your kind comments and interest in this work.
For the second picture in this series and more information on Kanata click on the picture below.