River Institute shells out information about Turtle Island

Alycia Douglass

Published on March 11, 2017

Dakota and Hawi Lazore enjoy this Saturday's Teachings from Turtle Island, which took place at the Cornwall Public Library as part of the River Institute's Science and Nature Rocks program. (Alycia Douglass/TC Media)

CORNWALL, Ontario - The St. Lawrence River Institute wrapped up the third installment of their Science and Nature Rocks program this Saturday, March 11 at the Cornwall Public Library. The sessions are targeted at young nature enthusiasts, with this weekend's class featuring teachings on our Mohawk neighbours.

River Institute Communication Specialist, Karen Douglass Cooper lead the hands-on information session, which touched on everything from moccassins to turtle shells. She says it’s important for people to gain a better understanding of the Mohawk people’s customs and traditions, which starts with the younger generations.

“The Mohawk people have been here a very long time, and they know more about the land and the water than anyone else I know...and I work with a lot of scientists,” laughed Douglass Cooper.

Passing around a sweetgrass braid, she explained that Algonquins believe that the three strands represent mind, body, and spirit; while Mohawks perceive it to symbolize love, kindness, and honesty.

The programs are intended for children 6-12, but parents are always encouraged to join their child. “It’s great when parents can see what their children are learning,” said Douglass Cooper. “Knowledge is a great first step in creating better relationships with First Nations.”

The information sessions are hosted free-of charge throughout the winter months.