Ottawa Indigenous group looking for a new space for their indoor marketplace

OTTAWA — On the western edge of Ottawa’s downtown core sits the Bronson Centre.

Hidden inside where a high school once was is a marketplace, run by Indigenous youth group, Assembly of Seven Generations. 

However, leave your cash at home – this market does not accept money. They trade for goods with the intention to restore the old ways of how goods used to be exchanged. 

“For me, it’s the discovery in so many people’s eyes when they come in,” said Madeleine Ienerahtahawai Kelly, who helps run the marketplace.

The 20-year-old says priority is given to Indigenous youth and their families.

At the marketplace, you will find items like hunted meats, special fish and traditional products harvested from the land, as well traditional clothing.

The marketplace started in March but the lease for the space is up in January. Organizers are hoping to find a new space to continue the trading experience they host every Monday.

“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger… we need support,” said Gabrielle Fayant, co-founder of A7G.

The group has been around for a while in Ottawa, starting in 2014 out of Idle No More. Since then it’s created a safe space for Indigenous youth to connect with others and reconnect with their culture.

“Sometimes we have up to 50 people who stop by and we can’t fit in here because of COVID,” said Fayant. 

The grassroots organization has put the call out on social media, hoping to raise $100,000. The money going largely towards renting a new space to keep the marketplace alive.

“We would really love a space that has a kitchen so we could cook together,” said Fayant.

With the current revelations in Canada’s history, a safe space like this is more critical than ever.

“It has given me so much life purpose and reignited who I was meant to be,” said Kelly. 

More information on how to donate can be found on the Assembly of Seven Generations website.

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