The Abenakis and the Les Sources RCM join forces to showcase Mont Ham
A regional park with Indigenous colours
Ham-Sud, Quebec – June 11, 2018
The Les Sources RCM and the Grand Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki (GCNWA) have held the public’s interest since a mysterious announcement was made in the Parc régional du Mont-Ham, on October 30, regarding a partnership. Nearly eight months later, the two organizations invited the media to the same place to relieve the suspense by revealing their new projects and the Parc régional du Mont-Ham’s brand new image.
The GCNWA and the Les Sources RCM have decided to develop and finalize a promising project for their communities; they are pooling their resources and have been awarded a non-repayable contribution of $146,850 from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) through the Canadian Initiative for the Economic Diversification of Communities Reliant on Chrysotile and a grant from the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones.
The collaboration is reflected mainly in four areas: the creation of a multi-purpose interpretive space on the Abenaki presence in the area; the development of Indigenous-inspired accommodations; the creation of a mountain discovery trail with interpretive panels; and the development of educational tools for visitors.
The partnership agreement has made this major project in the regional park possible, enhancing the present character of this tourist attraction while giving it an Indigenous flavour. Many infrastructure improvements with an Abenaki touch can already be seen on the site. These cultural highlights include a new annex—Espace Abénakis—which is already open to visitors. The cultural touches are also featured in every promotional action thanks to the regional park’s new image inspired by the etymology of the name “Waban-aki” (or “Abenaki”), which means “People of the rising sun.”
“I am very pleased to announce that a new day has dawned on the Parc régional du Mont-Ham. Over the past few months, the Les Sources RCM and the Grand Council of the Waban-Aki nation have taken concrete action to enhance the regional park’s current visitor offer. The Abenaki attraction definitely provides value-added for the Les Sources RCM’s tourism offer, along with that of the Eastern Townships,” stated Hugues Grimard, Warden of the Les Sources RCM and Mayor of Town of Asbestos.
For Daniel G. Nolett, Director General of the Conseil des Abénakis d’Odanak, this partnership is an opportunity that the Abenaki Nation couldn’t pass up. “The Abenakis are honoured to take part in a project that proudly represents their nation. The traditional touch is what makes this tourist attraction so unique.”
Dave Bernard, Director General of the Abenaki Band Council of Wôlinak, was just as enthusiastic: “This collaboration has already had a positive impact on the Nation’s economic development. Now that the project has been unveiled, we are very excited to see just where this partnership will take us.”
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for CED, expressed his satisfaction with the Government of Canada’s participation in the project. “We are determined to work closely with all levels of government, including those representing Indigenous peoples. The Government of Canada is proud to be associated with this regional project, whose success will benefit the regional economy and the Canadian economy overall.”
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Member of Parliament for Compton-Stanstead and Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, was also delighted with this announcement. “By combining the rich Abenaki culture with the natural beauty of the Parc régional du Mont-Ham, the Grand Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki and the Les Sources RCM are demonstrating their drive and the value of working in partnership to promote this attraction, thus fostering tourism and economic development in the area.”
In closing, as the Parc régional du Mont-Ham’s slogan says, anyone who wants to take a look at the results of this new partnership is invited to “come up and see | Spig8dawa wji namiha!”
- Isabel Fréchette
Communications and Advocacy Officer, Les Sources RCM
819-879-6661, extension 222
- Nikita Zewski
Executive Assistant and Director of Communications, Grand Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki
819-294-1686, extension 1205
- Media Relations
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions