Virtual tours share Akwesasne history

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By Nick Seebruch
Virtual tours share Akwesasne history
Lorna Thomas and Karonhianonha Francis of the NNATC display some of the artifacts they use during their virtual tours (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

AKWESASNE – The Native North American Traveling College (NNATC) is using technology to share the history of Akwesasne and those who live their with people from around the world.

Through AirBnB NNATC has been able to conduct virtual tours. The tours began in June and run twice a week.

Karonhianonha Francis and Lorna Thomas of the NNATC developed the tours which cover creation stories of the Akwesasronon to modern cultural practices that persist today.

Francis and Thomas say that they have had roughly 50 participants in their tours so far, many of whom have been from Europe and particularly the British Isles.

“When you take our tours you virtually come to Akwesasne and hang out with us,” said Francis. “When you take the tour you just need to come with an open mind.”

The virtual tours also gives the NNATC an opportunity to share some of the many artifacts that they have in their collection including locally made baskets, cradle boards, and wampum belts.

Tours run on Mondays and Tuesdays. The cost to participate in a tour is $12 and they are advertised to last about one hour, but Francis and Thomas say that the tours often go longer if the audience is engaged and asking questions.

Thomas said that questions they often get from guests concern Indigenous culture and the complicated border of Akwesasne, which spans Ontario, Quebec, and New York state.

Tours can be booked through AirBnB by following this link.

Francis and Thomas say that the NNATC may plan more virtual tours in the future to cover different subjects or themes. In the meantime, the NNATC is preparing to open their in-person museum and gift shop. Learn more about the NNATC by visiting their website.

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