Wikwemikong Tourism offering unique First Nations experiences

The Bebamikawe Memorial Trail is a popular sojourn for visitors to Wikwemikong.

WIKWEMIKONG— Wikwemikong Tourism has plenty of great offerings for visitors and residents alike this summer—all capturing an authentic First Nations experience with choices of arts, nature, relaxation or all of the above.

The Expositor spoke with Wikwemikong Tourism’s Dustin Peltier last week to learn more about the new experiences starting with Arts on the Trail, which will be offered on two dates, July 15 and 22, from 10 am to 3 pm.

“With Arts on the Trail, we’re trying to combine our hiking and arts experiences,” he said. The hike will be guided be Joe Pitawanakwat who will explain the plants found along the way and describe their may uses, including traditional, medicinal and practical. Along the way, hikers will gather materials found along the trail to use later on in their art. The arts portion of the day will include a lesson on the Seven Grandfathers teachings and then, based on their own interpretation of the teachings, the participants will create pieces of art including those items found along the hike. This segment will be guided by world renowned artists Mike and Nick Cywink of the Wikwemikong Art Gallery.

Lunch will be served as well, Mr. Peltier explained, featuring aboriginal fare.

The cost for the Arts on the Trail experience is $60 for families or $20 per person.

There are also five different experiences from which visitors to Wikwemikong can choose that take place Mondays through Fridays every week from now until September. Please reserve your place at least 24 hours in advance.

The Unceded Journey is a history tour of Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, its official name. “When visitors come here, one of the first things they always ask is ‘what does unceded mean?’” Mr. Peltier said. “This is a step on tour, meaning we will drive participants to all the sites (with plenty of opportunity to stop and explore).”

The Bebamikawe event, which translates into ‘making footprints,’ is the signature event of Wikwemikong Tourism. Participants will hike the scenic Bebamikawe Trail, learning the history of the trail as well as the plants and their uses to First Nations people. The trail leads to some “very scenic lookouts,” as explained by Mr. Peltier, with great views of Wikwemikong’s traditional fishing grounds. Here, the hikers will learn of the traditional means of sustainability of the people, including fishing, maple syrup making as well as the canoe routes and the battles that took place against warring First Nations.

The Bay of the Beaver Canoe Tour will deliver adventurers “up close and personal” with the traditional fishing routes of the Wikwemikong people, Mr. Peltier explained. “We will share the history of the islands around the routes and share plant teachings on the islands as there are some species that are specific to those islands.” A trip to Skull Point and other historical points of interest will also be included on the trip.

One need not be an experienced paddler to take part, Mr. Peltier assures, as beginner paddlers of all ages will be teamed up with an experienced member of the Wikwemikong Tourism team.

If you’re looking for something a little less adventurous, try the ‘Tranquil Restoration at Naadweh’ experience. Participants will hike to the lookout of their choice and enjoy a yoga session with a member of Wikwemikong Tourism staff. It’s a guaranteed peaceful time with a million-dollar view.

Lastly, Wikwemikong Tourism is also offering a Seven Grandfathers Crafts session, which had its debut last year during the Wikwemikong Cultural Festival and Powwow at the cultural pavilion. Following a lesson in the teachings, canvasses and mandalas (a circular art piece, not dissimilar to a dreamcatcher) will be provided to the artists to create pieces based on their interpretation of the lesson. This experience also comes with a tour of the art gallery where local talent can be admired.

The experiences range in price from $30 to $85 and can be booked by calling 705-859-3477