Celebrating Indigenous Culture at OPG Gardens

Celebrating Indigenous Culture at OPG Gardens
Michael Lazaris, Rob Ball, Chief April Adams-Phillips, Bruce Robertson, Councillor Denis Sabourin, Kelly Mitchell, and Amanda Griener at the ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new Gardens at OPG . (Photo : Jason Setnyk photo)

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) celebrated the grand opening of the Saunders Hydro Dam Visitor Centre Gardens on June 6, 2024. The event, attended by community members and dignitaries, highlighted the rich cultural heritage of the Akwesasne People and their connection to the land.

Amanda Griener, OPG’s Director of Asset and Project Management in Cornwall, emphasized the importance of Indigenous partnerships. “Today, we celebrate the grand opening of the Saunders Hydro Dam Centre Gardens, a long-term Indigenous garden landscape project and collaborative effort that honors the rich cultural heritage of the Akwesasne People and their deep connection to the land.”

Ranenrihiostha Herne of the Native North American Travelling College opened the event with a Thanksgiving address, setting a respectful and reflective tone for the occasion.

Bruce Robertson, Vice President of Eastern Operations for OPG’s Renewable Generation Division, expressed his excitement. “This peaceful landscape surrounding us is already making an impact. As we approach National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, these gardens are a fitting opportunity to celebrate the cultural richness and contributions of the Akwesasne community and their ancestors.”

“This morning, we hosted over 100 students from the Akwesasne Mohawk Board of Education and the Catholic District School Board to tour the gardens and learn from Indigenous and other cultural educators,” Robertson added.

Other guest speakers included Chief April Adams-Phillips, Snaihne District Chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Rob Ball, President and CEO of M. Sullivan & Son Ltd, Kelly Mitchell, President of the Iroquois Sullivan Joint Venture, Michael Lazaris from MPP Nolan Quinn’s office, and Councillor (Acting Mayor) Denis Sabourin of the City of Cornwall.

The event featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours of the gardens, and a reception at the OPG Saunders Hydro Dam Visitor Centre. The Medicine Wheel Garden, a focal point of the new landscape, offers a space for reflection and learning about the interconnectedness of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual realities in Indigenous culture.

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