Looking to connect the community and provide a culturally safe environment, the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly (CNA) has acquired the historic City of Merritt courthouse and will renovate it to house some of their programming.

CNA said in a release announcing the purchase that the courthouse, one renovated, will be a culturally safe and vibrant space for the community to access. The building will be used for cultural events, workshops, training, and will have a space for Elders. CNA said they hope this new space will bring people together and create a sense of community in the city. 

“At Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly we are proud to own a space where we can let the roots of our organization and communities grow,” said Cook’s Ferry Chief Christine Walkem, the chair of CNA’s Board of Directors. “Acquiring this building supports the continued growth and success of  the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly. Through programs and community engagement, the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly continues to work with our members from our participating Bands and the Nlaka’pamux Nation to reclaim our Nlaka’pamux language and culture.”

CNA was created 10 years ago, but its representatives said its work is rooted in hundreds of years of  history and a legacy of protecting the n?e?képmx people, culture, values, and territory. The not-for-profit organization that was formed in 2013 to manage and administer a number of agreements relating to Teck Highland Valley Copper Mine (HVC) on behalf of Ashcroft Indian Band, Boston Bar First Nation, Coldwater Indian Band, Cook’s Ferry Indian Band, Nicomen Indian  Band, Nooaitch Indian Band, Shackan Indian Band and Siska Indian Band.

Renovations will take place in the near future before the building is occupied by CNA, which will use the location to connect with community members from their participating bands and the Nicola Valley. 

“The building will quite literally become our Citxw – ‘house’ – where we can gather, learn, teach, and inform,” added Walkem. “This building supports our continued growth, and will provide efficiencies in engagement while also providing a culturally safe environment informed by our  Nlaka’pamux identity once renovated.”

CNA’s main office is located in downtown Merritt at 2025 Granite Ave. For more information on CNA and its programming, visit www.cna-trust.ca.