Akwesasne is a Mohawk homeland along the St. Lawrence River, bisected by 18th century treaties. Now in New York, Ontario, and Quebec, the people who call it home (Akwesashró:non), are restoring their land and their culture. They are using Heritage Tourism to promote cultural restoration, share aspects of their proud culture and place, and build a healthy economy.
The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe engaged the 106 Group to develop Tourism Interpretive and Infrastructure Plans that work in unison to accomplish the wider “Experience Akwesasne” initiative. Effective planning for a cultural tourism program is not only understanding the physical environment, but also the cultural and historical heart of a community; the physical and cultural must work hand-in-hand to complement each other. The process includes site visits to engage with community voices and absorb the culture and place.
The Tourism Interpretive Plan established culturally-authentic goals and themes that will drive the tourism program, including everything from marketing to cultural training. The Tourism Infrastructure Plan provides the physical elements that are designed and erected to enhance guest experience, attract more of the market, and create meaningful economic development. Our planning approach incorporates a collaborative and flexible process building upon previous plans and multiple guest experience perspectives.
Featured image of Laura "Molay" McDonald sharing Onkwátherékó:wa (“Our Big Basket”), a community project by 26 Akwesasne basket makers, with her granddaughter, Lauren. Used with permission.