Arena Celebrates Re-Opening and Improvements

The A’nowara’ko:wa Arena celebrated its grand re-opening and official start to the spring/summer season on Wednesday, May 9th, while unveiling $970,000 in improvements to the facility provided through funding from Canada 150, Quebec Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones Aboriginal Initiatives Fund II and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.


While a fire unfortunately caused a lengthy closure beginning this past January, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Dept. of Tehotiennawakon (Ec. Dev) and the Dept. of
Technical Services had plans in the works already to complete several funded upgrades,
and the cleaning and repairs were successfully completed simultaneously with the
completion of the upgrades.


An overall team of more than 100 people were on the arena property throughout the past
3-4 months to make the improvements, clean the arena from floor to ceiling from the fire
and soot, and to provide the community with a good-as-new and modernized arena for the
Akwesasne community and surrounding areas to enjoy.


“These upgrades and new features have helped to modernize our 20+ year old arena that
serves as the main hub for all Akwesasne sports and events,” said Department of Technical Services Senior Manager Joe Francis. “We are especially proud of the new energy-efficient equipment that will serve the community well in the years to come. I also want to acknowledge the DTS maintenance staff for stepping up to get this project done,” he added.


Improvements & upgrades to the arena include:

  • A brand new 2nd floor concession that is double the size of the existing 1st floor concession.
  • It is conveniently located at the southern end of the arena while the 1st floor concession is located at the northern end.
  • Two 1st floor rooms have been renovated to serve as a permanent fitness room for MCA’s Community Health Program where classes and health programs can be hosted. The room will feature permanent exercise equipment as well as office space for the fitness coordinator.
  • A new state-of-the-art scoreboard
  • New LED lighting provides a brightly lit arena floor and in the parking lot that are a fraction of the expense of the previous lighting
  • A prominent new sign for the arena at the main road entrance so guests know where to turn.
  • A new $420,000 chiller system that operates with new energy-efficient technology and features touch-screen control panels.
  • Soundproofing of the Turtle Room to minimize noise from the arena when meetings are taking place.
  • Commission and installation of three Akwesasne Historical Markers, which are signs that highlight parts of Akwesasne history that may not be commonly known. The first three have been installed along what will become the walking trail, with 9 more planned once additional funding is allocated. The first three signs feature Colonel Louis Cook, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, and Captain William J. Cook. They were drawn by artist Jade Thompson using the pyrography (woodburning) method, with historical narratives written by Darren Bonaparte.


The A’nowara’kowa Arena provides a community venue for events of all sizes, from sports
practices and birthday parties to the Akwesasne International Powwow, career fairs and
music festivals.


Grand Chief Abram Benedict thanked MCA staff and crews for their hard work.
“The community will benefit from the improvements and enhancements staff have worked
hard to develop and we are grateful to have our arena up and running again. We are very
fortunate to have this arena as well as the dedicated staff to operate it. We look forward to
seeing the community benefit through various activities and events that are planned all
summer long.”


“Nia:wenkowa to all staff who assisted in the arena’s recent upgrades. The project was
completed in forty days thanks to the tremendous effort put forth by the DTS maintenance
staff, Arena administrative staff and contractors,” added Jim Ransom, Director of the
Department of Tehotiiennawakon. “They should be proud of what they have accomplished”
he concluded.