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New Indigenous Audio Tour of the Niagara Glen, Rekindling All Our Relations

New Indigenous Audio Tour of the Niagara Glen, Rekindling All Our Relations
  • Experience a deeper sense of connection to nature with this self-guided audio tour of the Niagara Glen
  • Curated by Michele-Elise Burnett and audio-engineered by William Reich, who are both Metis citizens of Ontario and members of the Bear Clan
  • Launch ceremony featured music by renowned Indigenous musicians, including Darryl Tonemah, remarks by local dignitaries and Indigenous representatives including master Haudenosaunee storyteller Perry Ground

Niagara Falls, ON – In celebration of National Indigenous History Month, a ceremony was held on Saturday, June 1, at the Niagara Glen to launch a new Indigenous audio tour experience, Rekindling All Our Relations, curated and produced by Michele-Elise Burnett, President of Kakekalanicks Indigenous Consulting Company and Landscape of Nations 360.

Niagara Parks, with the support of the Niagara Parks Foundation, invites guests to experience Rekindling All Our Relations and embark on this free, self-guided audio tour hike of one of Niagara Parks’ most beloved nature sites – the spectacular Niagara Glen.

As guests arrived at the launch ceremony on Saturday, June 1, they were welcomed by music from award-winning Native American (Kiowa/Comanche/Tuscarora) singer-songwriter, actor, author and health psychologist, Darryl Tonemah. The ceremony began with a message of welcome and thanksgiving by Indigenous elder Grandmother Jackie Labonte, followed by remarks on behalf of the Niagara Parks Commission by Chair Bob Gale and the Niagara Parks Foundation by Director Sylvie Chartrand-Rafi.

Michele-Elise Burnett provided remarks that shared insight into her creative process and inspiration behind the tour and renowned Haudenosaunee storyteller Perry Ground from the Turtle clan of the Onondaga Nation spoke about the profound cultural connections to the Niagara River and the Niagara Glen. The ceremony concluded with music by Sabrina Shawana from the award-winning, Niagara-based Indigenous collective of drummers, Strong Water Singers. Guests were then invited to take part in special guided tours of Rekindling All Our Relations, which was further brought to life by live music and storytelling by Darryl Tonemah and Perry Ground within the Niagara Glen.

Curated and produced by Michele-Elise Burnett and audio-engineered by William Reich, Rekindling All Our Relations combines musical compositions from renowned Indigenous artists with rich narratives incorporating Indigenous teachings that encourage a deeper connection with the natural world and unique environmental features of the Niagara Glen. Both Burnett and Reich, as Metis citizens of Ontario with Algonquin roots and members of the Bear Clan, carry with them a profound respect for their heritage and a commitment to honouring the teachings of their ancestors, which has translated into this deeply authentic and unique audio tour experience. Rekindling All Our Relations has been made possible through support from the Niagara Parks Foundation, Indigenous Tourism Ontario and Indigenous Canada.

The Niagara Glen is home to four kilometres of rugged hiking paths that wind through the pristine pocket of Carolinian Forest, taking guests on a journey past prehistoric rock formations, hundreds of at-risk species of flora and fauna and breathtaking lookouts to take in the beauty of the Niagara Gorge and swirling whirlpool rapids of the Niagara River.

To take part in the free, self-guided audio tour experience, guests are invited to download the free Rekindling All Our Relations app in advance (available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store). Additionally, handheld listening devices are available at the Niagara Glen Nature Centre. For more information, visit niagaraparks.com/glenaudio.

Quotes

“Along the path, our older and wiser relatives will share teachings, Indigenous consciousness and ways of knowing. This emerges from a space within each of us that is informed and governed by our natural relationship with creation. Guests will experience the landscape from an Indigenous lens and embrace being one with the natural world. The Glen Trail path along the Niagara River will help guests to look inward, facing oneself and to use this time to reflect, think critically and work towards the key goal of ensuring balance and harmony with all living things,” said Michele-Elise, curator and producer of Rekindling All Our Relations.

“Travel experiences that allow visitors to learn about and immerse themselves in local Indigenous culture in unique and authentic ways are in high demand, especially across Canada. The Niagara region is home to an incredibly rich Indigenous history and experiences such as this audio tour help to share that history with both local residents and the millions of guests that visit Niagara each year. This is a very unique experience and we are grateful to Michele-Elise, William Reich and all those involved, for making it available to guests at the Niagara Glen,” said Niagara Parks Chair Bob Gale.

“The Niagara Parks Foundation is proud to support this initiative that so perfectly aligns with many of the goals and objectives of our organization and our overall mission of advancing the environmental and cultural stewardship work of Niagara Parks. Not only will guests walk away with a deeper connection to nature and the environment, but they will also develop a greater understanding of Indigenous culture and beliefs, particularly within the Niagara region,” said Niagara Parks Foundation Director, Sylvie Chartrand-Rafi.

About Niagara Parks

Since its establishment in 1885, Niagara Parks has remained a self-financed agency of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, entrusted to preserve and protect the land surrounding Niagara Falls and the Niagara River. Today, Niagara Parks boasts gardens, a horticulture school, recreation, golf courses, restaurants, heritage and historic sites, gift shops and, of course, Niagara Falls. In short, natural landscapes, history, family fun, hiking, culinary delights, attractions and adventure.

For more information, please visit niagaraparks.com

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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