ONEIDA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The Oneida Indian Nation is officially starting the construction of its new community and cultural center on Territory Road in Oneida.

On Tuesday, September 13th, a groundbreaking event was held featuring Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Oneida Nation Enterprises CEO, Ray Halbritter, and other attendees.

This 65,000 square foot facility will be among the largest tribal community centers of its kind, complete with space for a library, community meals, cultural classes, and community events, as well as a field house for lacrosse, an indoor track, an indoor pool, and more.

Also, some Nation Members will have the unique opportunity to live in a part of the community center as part of the Oneida Neighborhoods Project.

Oneida Indian Nation Representative, Ray Halbritter, explained that this project has been in the works since the Oneida people lost their land in the early 1800s.

“This is how we’re preparing for those future generations,” said Halbritter.

“So, today, getting our land back – it’s not just about getting our land back, it’s about getting our people back, it’s about getting our community back – it’s about getting our Nation back.”

Again, construction on this project begins today, so be sure to keep up with eyewitness news for updates on the progress.

(Photo renderings courtesy of the Oneida Indian Nation)