Parks Canada, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, and Township of South Glengarry collaborate on future of ancestral island

Parks Canada

June 21, 2022 South Glengarry, Ontario Parks Canada Agency

The cultures and identities of Indigenous peoples are rooted in the land, and honouring connections to place is an important part of reconciliation. Working together towards a renewed relationship, today, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, the Township of South Glengarry, and Parks Canada announced they are collaborating on a common vision for conserving the natural and cultural heritage and sharing the stories of Tsikatsinakwahere, or Cairn Island.

Tsikatsinakwahere, or Cairn Island, is a small, acre-sized island in the St. Lawrence River, and is part of the traditional territory of Akwesasne. Its traditional name refers to the shape of the ground that resembles a bird’s nest. In the 1920s, Cairn Island was designated a national historic site for the large monument built on the island in 1842 commemorating service in the Upper Canada Rebellion. The island was frequented over the years by generations of visitors and local residents. In the 1990s, out of respect for the territory and recognition of the cultural significance of the island to the Mohawks of Akwesasne, the island was closed to visitors.

Recognizing that Cairn Island holds meaning to all of its past users, the partners are committed to ensuring Indigenous connections and cultural significance of the island are honoured and Indigenous rights are respected. Through shared understanding and mutual respect, presenting the story of the island and the different perspectives on its history is part of the path toward reconciliation.

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