Fort Mojave Indian Tribe breaks ground on school, cultural center
MOHAVE VALLEY — The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe broke ground for its Fort Mojave Culture Center and Elementary School on Nov. 5.
The facility, to be built at Plantation and Dunes roads in the Mohave Valley, is scheduled to be completed by July in time to open for the 2019-20 school year in August.
During the groundbreaking event, FMIT Tribal Council members addressed the public. “I would like to remind people that if we work together you can see what can be accomplished,” said Councilor Norvin McCord Sr. “No matter who you are or what you do you’ll still be a part of this tribe. There’s a big future ahead of us if we all work together.”
“It’s a big deal, especially when it comes to the preservation of our culture,” said Councilor Celina Reyes. “This moment isn’t the achievement of this council alone but all the other councils before us.”
“I’m glad and happy today. This is a great achievement for the future of our people,” said Colleen Garcia, Tribal Council Secretary.
“I want to thank everybody who had an instrumental hand in making this idea a reality,” said Councilor Nichole Garcia.
“About 10 years ago the council got together and talked about what we wanted to do for the future,” said Shan Lewis, Tribal Council Vice Chairman. “We decided that we wanted to invest in our health and in our children. Our wellness center is going to be done shortly and now we have the groundbreaking for our school. It feels good to see things becoming a reality.”
“This project was on our priority list to complete and it feels good to be here,” said Councilor Johnny Ray Hemmers.
According to a prepared statement by the tribe, the new construction will feature a multi-purpose language and cultural center that will work toward maintaining, revitalizing and documenting the Mojave language as well as developing the means to fulfill and preserve all aspects of Mojave culture. Additionally, the new construction will include the FMIT elementary school for pre-kindergarten to sixth-grade students that will emphasize Mojave language instruction and will implement STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) academic disciplines.
“One of our goals with the Fort Mojave Culture Center and Elementary School is for our future Tribal Council to be able to conduct a meeting in our own language,” said Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams. “This project has no state or federal funding which allows us to control our own destiny and be truly self-sufficient with our education. What we plan on doing is not only meeting the state standards but exceeding them with the elementary school. In addition, we are planning to have a nutrition plan that revolves around fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Overall this is going to be key to ensure that we know our language, customs, traditions and values,” Williams said. “It will also ensure that we will continue to protect our land and water.”