ARCHIVED - A Journey for Pabineau First Nation
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Imagine stepping back in time and taking a three hour journey through a secluded wooded area to experience the history and traditions of some of Canada's first inhabitants. You don't have to imagine anymore. Through the Mother Earth's Journey excursion at the Pabineau First Nation in New Brunswick (NB) you can experience authentic Mi'kmaq culture at its finest and contribute to a community's growing success.
In September 2009, the Pabineau First Nation outside of Bathurst, NB was approached by the Department of Tourism and Parks NB to participate in the 2010 Inner Journey initiative. The initiative is a provincial wide tourism program that tries to attract tourists to the province through a unique experience.
"The Mother Earth's Journey is a learning experience for everyone who participates. It is a cultural adventure where tourists have the opportunity to be immersed in Mi'kmaq culture through a relaxed joyful journey," said Rose Kryszko who works at the Pabineau First Nation and has played a major role in the development of the initiative.
Every second Saturday from July to September tourists can embark on Mother Earth's Journey and take part in a traditional smudging ceremony, create a pouch full of ancient medicines from plants in the area and finally end the journey with lusgnign (Indian bread) and tea while embraced by the comforts of Nature.
This new initiative has brought a community together and created a somewhat economic boom. Tourists are now discovering Pabineau First Nation and are stopping at local seafood market and takeout. Not only has the Journey helped bring more people to the community, it has also helped revive a hiking trail.
"We have never worked so closely with the NB government until this project," said Rose. "The people at the Tourism Department knew the Pabineau First Nation had something unique to offer and that people would be interested seeing it so they pushed us to get this project off the ground. We now have weekly meetings with the Department and that has never happened before."
The benefits have gone even further than just economic prosperity. The project has created access to off reserve resources while forming partnerships and networking opportunities with people around the province.
Pabineau First Nation will continue the Mother Earth's Journey next summer and hopes to create more jobs within the community.
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