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St. George’s Indian Band holds tourism experience event

Lori Fillatre makes luskinikn, the Mi'kmaq version of the familiar bannock at a recent tourism experience event in St. George’s. CONTRIBUTED BY JONATHAN MEYERS
Lori Fillatre makes luskinikn, the Mi'kmaq version of the familiar bannock at a recent tourism experience event in St. George’s. CONTRIBUTED BY JONATHAN MEYERS
ST. GEORGE'S, N.L. —

The local Indigenous community is hoping the Ktaqmkuk Mi'kmaq Museum can become a place where people can have hands-on learning experiences about their culture.

A special tourism experience, described as a rich sensory event that couldn’t be found anywhere else, was recently held at the venue in St. George’s.

The event held Nov. 3 is one of a larger series planned in partnership by the St. George’s Indian Band and Experience Qalipu. It was aimed at building upon the talent of people from the community, empowering them to share their gifts with visitors around the world, said a press release issued by the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band. 

The museum and cultural centre is owned and operated by the St. George's Indian Band. The event featured medicine identification and collection, preparation of tea and traditional foods, cooking on an open fire, cultural sharing and ceremonial teachings.

The band hopes to attract more visitors into the historic building.

"Visiting the museum is one thing, but we want to offer more to our visitors,” Chief Marlene Farrell said in the press release. “This community is the oldest recorded Mi'kmaq settlement on the island, and we have talented people who can offer workshops, guided tours, experiences and so much more.”

She said the fire circle and medicine walk held during the event are just two examples. 

“And we've got more in the works."

The walk component of the event was led by elder Terry Muise. Participants collected ingredient including rose hips, Labrador tea and fir needles to be ground in with sea salt to season their meal.

Alongside chef D’Arcy Butler, an active member of the Bay St. George Indigenous community and culinary instructor at College of the North Atlantic, they prepared locally procured moose, potatoes, carrots and berries. 

Those ingredients were timely as many people in the community had just got their moose and the root vegetable harvest was ongoing. Carrots for the event were picked sweet and fresh that morning.  

Local photographer Jonathan Meyers and filmmaker Matt Garnier captured images from the event to help the band promote these types of events in the future. 

The band already has plans for a winter event that will see rabbit as the main ingredient for the meal, along with some of the preserves Newfoundlanders have long relied on to get through the winter.

Tara Saunders, acting director of Qalipu’s community development department and Experience Qalipu, said the event was a terrific tourism product and Qalipu will be there to help the St. George’s Indian Band develop and promote their local experiences.

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