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Karihwanoron launches online fundraiser

Karihwanoron: Precious Things follows Karihwanoron  Mohawk Immersion student Yagorihwanirats Shilling and her mother Wentahawi Elijah. (Courtesy Roxann Whitebean)

Parents, staff and teachers at Karihwanoron Mohawk Immersion are taking their fundraising efforts online with the launch of a donation campaign through Generosity by Indiegogo.

The campaign, which aims to raise $40,000 for programming, supplies and operational costs, comes days after Karihwanoron: Precious Things, a short documentary about the school and its struggle, was released online by CBC Short Docs.

“I think that this is a really important issue of language revitalization,” said Roxann Whitebean, who wrote, directed and produced the film.

“I think this will show them what we need, rather than just talking about what we need. We’ll see the family, the generations of language speakers, the children and how this one little idea grew into an entire school.”

The documentary follows Wentahawi Elijah and her daughter Yagorihwanirats, a student at the school, and how their family was a part of the small group of parents who created the school in 1988 to provide an alternative Kanien’kehá:ka education.

“I wanted to show how one family did all of this. I think language revitalization is a huge topic, and I think there are many ways to resist and sometimes as simple as being in the classroom,” said Whitebean.

At the timing of filming in December, the school wasn’t sure if they’d have the funds to operate in the upcoming school year.

“At the time of filming, we had no idea whatsoever what was going to be happening for September. We didn’t have a tuition agreement yet for our current funding for elementary levels and normally we had that earlier on in the year,” said Joely Van Dommelen, the administrator at the school.

“The other thing was for our pre-nursery level, we were unsure where it was going to be held. We have a working relationship with Step by Step Child and Family Center, and we were supposed to be up and running a new building by now but it didn’t happen yet.”

In the months following production of the film, the school signed an agreement with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada for the next school year’s tuition.

Despite being in operation for nearly three decades, Karihwanoron continues to seek adequate and concurrent funding. Parents at the school are required to be heavily involved in fundraising efforts.

“We have monthly parent meetings to help run the program itself, and then also to organize fundraisers that we have to do basically every month,” said Van Dommelen.

A camera crew was at their toy and grocery bingo fundraiser in December.

“I think that one was one of our most successful bingos ever and it just happened to be filmed that night. We raised around $6,000 that night,” said Van Dommelen. “Then we had another just recently at the beginning of April and I think we raised around $1,200, so it was low attendance. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”

The amount of volunteering required of parents is something Whitebean knows very well. She has a child in grade one at the school, and another in grade two.

“Like Wentahawi said in the documentary, we have our households to maintain, full -time jobs, and then we also have Karihwanoron and we have to fundraise and go to meetings. It’s like a full-time job in itself,” said Whitebean.

However, she said the importance far outweighs the difficulties.

“I want to be able to strengthen the language in my family. I want to be a part of this movement of language revitalization because I think we have a lot of new programs in the community and it’s important,” said Whitebean.

“It’s so sweet to see all the benefits of our efforts in what we’re doing. My children can sing all sorts of songs and they know the Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen. They can converse in the language.”

Van Dommelen said donations received from the campaign will help alleviate a large percentage of fundraising obligations from the parents and will be used toward operational costs, classroom supplies and playground equipment.

“Other than just running our program, the computers are all outdated, so we’re in need of new ones and minor renovations in the school or classroom, books or even just arts and crafts supplies. Everything, you name it,” said Van Dommelen.

Van Dommelin said she’s hoping the documentary will help solicit support from beyond Kahnawake.
“Our community has been here for us for the almost 30 years now. We wouldn’t be here without the help of our community and businesses, but we’re hoping this one will touch the outside and help us that way as well,” said Van Dommelen.

Those interested in donating to the campaign can do so here.


Karihwanó:ron Tsi Ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’  kahwistarò:roks ne a’arà:ke

Karihwanoron fundraiser
Karihwanó:ron – Precious Things teióia’ks tkeniià:tara’s ne Karihwanó:ron Kanien’kéha Owén:na Tsi Ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’ ionterihwaiénstha’ Iakorihwahní:rats Shilling tánon’ o’nisténha Wentenhá:wi Elijah. (Courtesy Roxann Whitebean)

Ka’nhehsí:io Oskenón:tonKanien’kehá:ka Na’kòn:ke Rontehnhohanónhnha’

Karihwanó:ron Tsi Ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’ ronwatiien’okòn:’a, rotiio’ténion tánon’ shakotirihonnién:ni a’arà:ke Generosity ne Indiegogo enhatihwistarò:roke’.

Ronhská:neks ne $40,000 ahatihwistarò:roke’ ne ahotiia’takéhnha’ enhonaterihwahtentia’tónhake’. Karihwanó:ron – Precious Things teióia’ks tahoti’nikonhratihéntho’ ne tho nahatí:iere’. Nok thí:ken ken’ niiénsha teióia’ks CBC Short Docs a’arà:ke nontakaiá:ken’ne’ tánon’ kaká:ratons oh nontié:ren tsi tehonatatiénhton tsi ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’.

“Í:kehre se’ kí:ken kwah í:ken tsi iorihowá:nen ne onkwawén:na eniónhnheke’,” wa’kèn:ron’ ne Roxann Kasahe’tarà:ken, aónha iohiá:ton, tioniarotáhrhon tánon’ iaón:ni thí:ken teióia’ks.

“Wa’kanonhtónnionhwe’ tóka’ enkhena’tón:hahse’ nahò:ten’ teionkwatonhontsó:ni, né: ne iá:we kwah nek akhthá:rahkwe’ nahò:ten’ teionkwatonhontsó:ni. Eniethí:ken’ ne kahwá:tsire, tánon’ tsi nihá:ti ronhrónkha’, ratiksa’okòn:’a, tánon’ oh ní:ioht tsi ken’ niwaterien’tahtsherà:’a wa’kanonhsakétsko’ tsi ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’.”

Teióia’ks iotíhseres Wentenhá:wi Elijah tánon’ ontatièn:’a Iakorihwahní:rats, tho ionterihwaienstà:ne’s, tánon’ oh ní:ioht tsi aotihwá:tsire wa’thatiié:na’ tsi ó:ia’ kanien’kéha tsi ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’ wahatinonhsakétsko’ ne 1988 shiiohseratátie’.

“Wà:kehrek akhena’tón:hahse’ oh ní:ioht tsi skahwatsí:ra akwé:kon tho na’kontí:iere’. Í:kehre iorihowá:nen tsi nitewawennò:ten’, tánon’ í:kehre é:so ká:ien oh naietewá:iere’ naietewanónhstate’ tsi nitewaia’tò:ten’ tánon’ á:re’s kwah nek tho niwatié:sen tóka’ tsi ionteweienstáhkhwa’ enhsè:sheke’,” wa’kèn:ron’ ne Kasahe’tarà:ken.

Tsothóhrha’ shiwenhni’tò:ten tahontáhsawen’ teióia’ks ahatí:rahste’, tsi ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’ iotiió’tenion iah orihwí:io teionaterièn:tarahkwe’ tóka’ ia’tenkaié:rike’ tsi ní:kon iotihwístaien ne akahnhotonkwénhake’.

“Shiionkhiia’táhrha’, akwé:kon iah teionkwaterièn:tarahkwe’ oh niiawénhsere’ ne Seskehkó:wa nè:’e tsi áro’khe thia’tekarihwaientà:’on tó: nikahwístake’ entewatkà:wen ne ratiksa’okòn:’a (1 tsi niió:re 6 nikahiá:ton ratihá:wi) tho enhonterì:waienste’ tánon’ iotkà:te ó:nen ne ia’takarihwaientà:’onke’ shontontohseratáhsawen’,” wa’kèn:ron’ ne Joely Van Dommelen, tsi ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’ waterihwahtentià:tha’.

“Nok iah kwah teionkwaterièn:tarahkwe’ ka’ nón:we enhonterì:waienste’ ne pre-nursery, Tso’khahátshon (Step by Step) teionkwaienawa’konhátie’s tánon’ asé’stsi aionkwanonhsó:take’ ó:nen nek tsi áro’khe tho teiawèn:’en.”

Ohnà:ken wahatíhsa’ tsi teióia’ks ratiráhstha, tsi ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’ tánon’ Northern and Indigenous Affairs Canada ia’thotirihwaién:ta’se’ tó: nikahwístake’ entewatkà:wen ne ratiksa’okòn:’a tho ahonterì:waienste’ ne ó:ia ientsóhserate’. Arohátien tsi áhsen niwáhsen niiohserá:ke shihonaterihwahtentià:ton, Karihwanó:ron Tsi Ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’ shé:kon ratihwistí:saks. Teiotonhontsóhon é:so ahonthonkária’ke’ ahatihwistarò:roke’ ne ronwatiien’okòn:’a.

“Thia’tewenhnì:take ronwatiien’okòn:’a enhontkennísa’, enhatirihwahserón:ni’ oh ní:ioht tsi ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’ enhonterihwahténtia’te’ tánon’ oh ní:ioht tsi enhatihwistarò:roke’,” wa’kèn:ron’ ne Van Dommelen.

Tsothóhrha’ shiwenhni’tò:ten, iontkahri’táhkhwa’ tánon’ atennà:tshera bingo ronaterih-wahtentia’tòn:ne tánon’ tho iehón:ne’skwe’ ne teióia’ks ratiráhstha’. “Í:kehre ne aonhà:’a tkahwistowá:nen tionkwahwistarò:ron ne bingo tánon’ tho wahsontá:te thotirahsta’nónhne. Thó:ha $6,000 ionkwahwistarò:ron,” wa’kèn:ron’ ne Van Dommelen.

“Sok ki’ shontontenhni’ta-táhsawen’ ne Awhrí:, ó:ia tsonkwaterihwahtentia’tòn:ne tánon’ thó:ha $1,200 wa’akwahwistarò:roke’, iah tetionkwehnéhne. Á:re’s tenhsatén:tsha’, á:re’s iah tha’tahsatén:tsha’.”

Kasahe’tarà:ken ioterièn:tare tó: nikaio’tenhserowá:nen ne aionthonkária’ke’. Tehniiáhse akoien’okòn:’a tho thiateweiénstha’, 1 kahiá:ton tánon’ 2 tekahiá:ton nihá:wi.

“Nè:’e ki’ Wentenhá:wi wa’kèn:ron’ shontakaià:tara’ne’, teiotonhontsóhon onkwanonhskónhshon aionkwaió’teke’, thia’tewenhni-será:ke aionkwaio’ténhsera’, tánon’ Karihwanó:ron Tsi Ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’ ò:ni’ ionkwá:ien tánon’ teiotonhontsóhon aiakwahwistarò:roke’, aiakwatken’nisa’aniòn:na’, kwah né: ne tóka’ ó:ia ionkwajobtsherá:ien,” wa’kèn:ron’ ne Kasahe’tarà:ken.

Nek tsi wá:ton sénha iorihowá:nen arohátien tsi wentó:re.

“Tewakatonhontsó:ni akkwé:ni’ akewennahní:rate’ nakenónhskon. Tewakatonhontsó:ni ne ì:’i ò:ni’ skátne shatiwennahní:rats aiakwaia’tarátieke’ nè:’e tsi í:kehre é:so asé’stsi waterihwahten-tià:ton nonkwaná:takon tánon’ iorihowá:nen nen’ nè:’e,” wa’kèn:ron’ ne Kasahe’tarà:ken.

“Tsi niion’wé:sen ne aiontkáhtho’, é:so ioiánere tiotkà:wen tsi niionkwaieránion. Kheien’okòn:’a enhnikwé:ni’ nia’tekarén:nake ahiaterennotónnion’ tánon’ niwennohétstha’ ne Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen, tánon’ enhnikwé:ni’ onkwehonwehnéha tahnihthá:ren’.”

Van Dommelen wa’kèn:ron’ tsi é:so tsi enhotiié:nawa’se’ ne kà:ron ahatihwistarò:roke’ ne ronwatiien’okòn:’a tánon’ né: énhontste’ enhonatkária’khse’ ne shakotirihonnién:ni, iontstha’shòn:’a  tánon’ iontswa’táhkhwa’ enhontenhní:non’.

“Né: ne iá:we kwah nek eniákwatste’ ne aiakwaterihwahténtia’te’, akwé:kon iakwawennarahstha’okòn:’a iokaiòn:seron, né: ki’ teion-kwatonhontsó:ni asé’stsi kawenna-rahstha’okòn:’a, ken’ niiorihwà:sa’s entsakwakwatakwanión:ko’ tsi ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’, eniakwaboktsherahninónnion’ tóka’ ni’ ratiráhstha’ rontstha’shòn:’a eniakwahninónnion’. Akwé:kon sena’tónnion,” wa’kèn:ron’ ne Van Dommelen.

Van Dommelin wa’kèn:ron’ tsi wahská:neks thí:ken teióia’ks ísi’ nón:we ne Kahnawà:ke naontakaia’takehnhahtsheratihénhtho’.

“Skáhere ne áhsen niwáhsen niiohserá:ke ó:nen shiionkhiia’takehnhenhátie’ ne onkwaná:ta, wáhi. Iah ki’ kèn:’en thakanonhsó:take’ tóka’ iah thaionkhiia’takéhnhen ne onkwaná:ta tánon’ ne ronterihwahtentià:tha’,nek tsi iakwahská:neks ne átste nonkwá:ti iakaníhara’ne’ tánon’ ne aontakáhawe’ ne aionkwaia’takéhnha’ ò:ni’,” wa’kèn:ron’ ne Van Dommelen.

(‘Toka’ entisa’nikonhratihén-tho’ ne aontahsheiathwistatkà:wen iahá:se.)

jessicad@easterndoor.com
Jessica Deer
Jessica Deer is the deep-thinking, quick-witted (and perhaps heavily caffeinated) columnist. She began her career at The Eastern Door back in 2008 as a summer student. In addition to writing about youth leadership, ranting about Indigenous politics, as well as raising awareness of cultural appropriation issues in The Caffeinated Potadoe, Jessica has been a staff reporter since 2015 and does on-call layout and graphic design. She also updates the website, so if something is broken... it is probably her fault.
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