CFN – Tsiionhiakwatha (Droulers Archeological Site), Tsiiontoratstha (Lake Saint-Francis National Wildlife Reserve) and Ionkwanikonriio (Thompson Island Youth Camp) all have a long history of educating the public on their own about the Iroquois cultural heritage and environmental conservation. Earlier this year, they combined their resources and experiences to develop an eco-tourism project that earned them national recognition.
The intercultural eco-tour package, aptly named Tentsitewaiena (in Mohawk meaning, ‘Working Together Again’), won the 2011 SATQ—a national tourism award given by the Quebec Tourist Attraction’s Society. The award was bestowed upon Tentsitewaiena as a best new tourism product, which makes it a ‘must see’ attraction throughout the province of Quebec.
Born from the cooperation of neighboring Native and non-Native organizations working together, the eco-tourism project is a discovery of the extraordinary wildlife habitat in an environmentally responsible manner. It offers a truly unique journey into the heart of Mohawk culture and history that fulfills all the expectations of an eco-tourism experience.
Winning tourism awards is not new for Tsiionhiakwatha, which has accumulated seven regional and provincial awards since it was named a National Historic Site in 2007. The 2011 SATQ award however, is Tsiionhiakwatha’s first national award, as well as the first-ever award for Ionkwanikonriio and Tsiiontoratstha. The three organizations hope that the national acclaim for Tentsitewaiena will result in more tourists next summer.
Tentsitewaiena is an eco-tour adventure that includes an overnight stay in one of five re-created Iroquois longhouses at the archeological site, followed by a kayak or rabasca (canoe) experience that entails an education of local conservation efforts as paddlers make their way from Tsiiontoratstha to Ionkwanikonriio. Once at Ionkwanikonriio, tourists receive a guided nature walk that offers an explanation of natural medicines and foods, as well as a chance to hear from Akwesasne elders and community members about Mohawk traditional knowledge and teachings.
Since the eco-tour began it has been a popular outing for many schools, colleges, community organizations and other tourist groups located throughout the region. This year’s inaugural season for Tenstitewaiena was a success, as the summer months were filled with reservations.
Tour organizers anticipate that next tourist season will be even more successful, so anyone interested in participating in this unique eco-tourism experience is encouraged to call 1-866-690-3030 or 450-264-3030 to reserve a date.