We’ve dug up some photos to give a clearer picture of the Nation to Nation Team’s four and a half days in Akwesasne, getting to know each other and being hosted and enlightened by the community members who came forward to prepare the young cyclists for their indigenous rights odyssey.
Michelane Gliddy from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, Ontario shares her intentions for the tour with the group.
Sitting around the fire on the first night at Thompson Island, Aronhiaies Herne, a young traditional speaker and chief, shares the old stories and values at the root of Mohawk culture with the group.
The group watches the Akwesasne Indians play a very close game of the traditional sport of lacrosse.
Members of the group get a chance to talk with Chief Brian David during half-time at the arena.
Back on Thompson Island, hosts Bob Stevenson and Marie Thompson sit down with the group after another of Marie’s delicious meals quickly disappears.
Darren Bonaparte, Mohawk cultural historian, presents his wampum belt archive, telling four hundred years of nation to nation history with the traditional wampum belts that represented various agreements, such as the Two Row Wampum. He emphasizes that there was a time when a much higher degree of respect was given to native people by settlers, as when British officials participated in the traditional ceremonies that featured these wampum belts, even speaking the native languages involved.
The group spends its last night staying up and making dream catchers with Marie Thompson, digesting everything they’ve seen and heard. Everyone is, of course, sad to be leaving the beautiful community and their generous hosts. But they’ve been given something special. They came to Akwesasne as strangers, and they’ll be leaving as a team. They’ll also be leaving with a sense of obligation to indigenous peoples everywhere, having been brought into one community and learning about its long history.