VERONA, NY – The Oneida Indian Nation recently held a groundbreaking celebration to mark the beginning of construction of its new community and cultural center. Located on Oneida Indian Nation lands, the community center is the latest step in the Oneida Indian Nation’s ongoing revitalization of its homelands and investments in the preservation of a vibrant community for generations to come.
“When complete, the community center will be so much more than just impressive features,” said Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Oneida Nation Enterprises CEO. “It will truly be the center of our Nation – an investment in the very heart of our community and a permanent representation of all the history and meaning that term encompasses. Like all that we undertake, it will benefit not just those of us gathered here today, but our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren unto the Seventh Generation. Here, they will find a vibrant community and a place they may always call home.”
When complete, the 65,000 sq. ft. community center will be among the largest tribal centers of its kind in the U.S. Its amenities will include:
- Areas for language and cultural programming and education
- Spaces for community meals and other gatherings
- Exhibit space
- Field house for lacrosse games and cultural events
- Natatorium with an accessible pool, children’s pool, and spa
- Fitness center
- Running track
- Play area
- Conference rooms and office space
The community center’s design will be infused with Oneida culture and traditions throughout. At the center’s entrance, broad wooden slats recreate the threading of a wampum belt, highlighting the important connections between people and Nations. The four elements are represented throughout the complex’s architecture, as are details that bring to mind the construction of a Haudenosaunee longhouse. In the community center’s culture core, a skylight in the shape of a feather and a stone floor with a snapping turtle shell pattern emphasize the Oneida Indian Nation’s connection to the earth and the Creator.
In addition to the construction of the new community center, the next phase of the Oneida Neighborhoods Project will also include additional housing for Nation members. This fall, construction will begin to double elder housing and increase other available member housing by 50 percent. Expanded housing will also be accompanied by new road infrastructure to accommodate this increase in residency.
While the Oneida Indian Nation community center has been designed to provide resources and amenities for Nation members, it will also welcome members of other tribal nations and area residents.