The CCDF program continues to make progress planning the new learning center. Funded by a five million dollar Federal grant, the new learning center will be located at the Nation’s Headquarters in Grove. The learning center will host kids aged six months to 12 years for day and afterschool programs focusing on language and cultural learning. 

Nikinzie Bowers, CCDF Director, has seen the benefits in her own family and other tribes of learning and preserving tribal languages. Her vision is for the programming at the new center to include extensive language and cultural components. These cultural preservation efforts will also focus on the significance of ceremonial dances, from Sun Dance to Green Corn.

The current plan is for the building to have space for 90 – 100 kids in seven classrooms: two for infants, two for toddlers, one for pre-k students, and two classrooms for before and after school care. The space will also feature advanced air filtration systems to limit the risk of COVID-19 or other infections. 

The federal grant to fund this building has already been awarded to the Seneca-Cayuga Nation, so the money needed is in place. Currently, Nikinzie is finalizing plans, and an environmental assessment is underway to approve a specific location. At the same time, a team of Tribal Leaders is working on policies and procedures needed to run the program at the new center. Dennis Sisco, who has previous experience with construction projects, is spearheading the building process. There is still a lot of work to do before children’s laughter fills the rooms of the new learning center, but the development process is well on its way.

The new CCDF learning center will be a crucial tool in educating and developing the youth of our Tribe to know and understand our ways and traditions, and it will enhance our ability to have a thriving community for generations to come. Nikinzie says that, “I want all Seneca-Cayuga Nation kids to have great educational experiences that include culture and language.” This new center will help make this dream come true.