New Community Centers to be Built
Little Rock Scheduled for 2012, Redby for 2013
All districts on the Red Lake Reservation will be getting much needed new Community Centers. Ponemah Multi-use Community Center, the first on the list, is nearly complete. Little Rock is next on the list, followed by Redby, and then a new Red Lake Community Center will follow.
Community meetings facilitated by Red Lake Economic Development and Planning staff have taken place in both Little Rock and Redby to facilitate and explore the needs of each community. Cultural design principles have been established and a cultural committee formed to incorporate their ideas into the concept design.
“These cultural influences will give the design of the Little Rock and Redby community centers their unique identity,” said Red Lake Economic Development staff person Margueritte Secola. “Functional design principles and space needs have also been established. Once the funding is recognized the list of needs will need to prioritized to match the budget.”
“In Little Rock”, Secola said, “a kitchen committee has been established to further design the kitchen needs. The community would like to see the facility constructed on the existing site.” Construction is scheduled for 2012.
“Redby residents community would like to see their community facility constructed on the old saw mill site with views of the Big Lake,” said Secola. Redby Center is scheduled for 2013.
Little Rock Representative to the Red Lake Tribal Council Richard Barrett, took this writer on a tour of the Little Rock Community recently. He proudly pointed out the new Round House and two new sections of housing now complete. He explained the background on the community’s Center.
“The new community center will be at the rear of the current building,” said Barrett. “The old center will remain to be used for overflow or double bookings, and other uses to be determined. It may also be used for kids recreation, community meetings, wakes, and of course it has a kitchen.” A large mural that dominates one wall inside the building was done by 4th graders in the late 90’s, explained Barrett.
“A woman willed the land to be used for Little Rock Community Center, said Barrett, “which is why the center bears her name, “Sakate” or Sah-kah-tay hall.”
Near and to the west of the current community center is what is referred to as the Long House, something this writer for some reason never noticed before. “We used to have a school there,” said Barrett, “now it houses two nurses who serve the community of Little Rock with minor medical problems.”
While we were there, we had the privilege to meet some Christian Youth Workers, volunteers from the Twin Cities. They were painting the outside of the current Community Center which as said, will be saved. The lead person, Drew Tobias, said there will be a total of 68 youth working on the reservation over several weeks. They will stay a total of seven days each.
The youth workers do many things across the reservation each year. The group stays at Early Childhood, and oftentimes in the evening, Red Lakers come and teach the inner city youth more about Red Lake and it’s culture. “We feel very welcome here,” said Tobias, “Red Lake people seem very appreciative and treat us well. It is a wonderful opportunity for city youth to get out in the woods, and at the same time learn something of another culture.” Barrett smiled and concurred.