Uplands Cultural and Heritage Centre launched a new project on Thursday morning focused on reconnecting the Lennoxville community with its Abenaki roots. Entitled “Nikitotegwasis to Lennoxville,” the project includes a variety of activities highlighting both historical roots and contemporary Abenaki culture, funded as a part of the Canada 150 celebrations.
“It is important to understand the past to know where we are going,” said Uplands director Nancy Robert. “Often we feel disconnected from what happened with the original peoples and the different nations in Quebec.”
Robert pointed out that although Uplands has traditionally focused on the cultural history that can be tied specifically to the house and local community, the task of sharing local heritage means more than just looking at the last 150 years.
“We have everything to learn when it comes to the history and culture of Abenaki and aboriginal people in our region,” the director said. “The land on which the borough of Lennoxville and Uplands are located is part of the traditional territory of the Abenaki people. The place was originally called Nikitotegwasis or, little river which forks.”
Admitting that she, personally, has been learning a lot through the development of the program, Robert expressed deep gratitude to the Abenaki community at Odanak and the team at the Abenaki Museum there for the significant advisory role they have played throughout the process.
Florence Benedict, a member of the Odanak Band Council, said that the community was equally thankful to have been approached.
“This initiative will make a significant contribution to our efforts to have others discover, share, and recognize our heritage in this region,” Benedict said. “We were pleased to provide guidance to the Uplands team throughout the creative process in the name of producing a true representation of Abenaki culture.”
Read the full story in Friday’s Record