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Canku Ota
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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Tsi Niiohahò:ten: Choosing Our Path
by Jessica L. Jock, St. Lawrence River Area of Concern Program Manager

Bilingual Lake Sturgeon Educational Book – First of its Kind!

AFS Students (L-R): Thanaokatha, Teionienkwatase, Shakotentetha, Kaianonkie tánon, Shatkarihwaien

In Tsiothóhrha/December 2014, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe's (SRMT) Environment Division collaborated with the Ahkwesáshsne Freedom School (AFS) on an education project proposal to the St. Lawrence River Research and Education Fund (SLRREF) called, "Tsi Niiohahò:ten: Choosing our Path." The project was awarded in 2015 and enabled AFS students to participate in spring and summer environmental activities that promoted traditional teachings; language; and science lessons of fish, wildlife, and medicines from the Áse Tsi Tewá:ton Program. The Tsi Niiohahò:ten project created a unique new link to the Tribe's cultural restoration efforts by creating a "Jr. Apprentice."

This transfer of traditional knowledge and hands on application teachings from Masters and Apprentices to Jr. Apprentices focused on traditional uses of Lake Sturgeon, muskrat, wild rice and medicinal plants. As a result of this collaboration, printed educational material, with artwork and text contributions by the AFS students, was created in posters and handouts to be used as future teaching tools.

A highlight of the education materials developed from this collaborative project was the artful and colorful Lake Sturgeon publication crafted by the SRMT Communications Department, with support from AFS teachers and students.

This Lake Sturgeon publication was produced in fall 2016 in both Kanien'keha (Mohawk) only and Mohawk/English languages. The book printed in Mohawk-only language is targeted for educational uses in Mohawk immersion language programs or fluent speakers. While the bilingual bookwas developed for public schools, environmental education, and/or any person interested in learning the language and more about Lake Sturgeon. This 16-page bilingual publication is the first of its kind and combines snipits of the sciences, language, culture and conservation of Lake Sturgeon in Akwesasne.

The printing of the Lake Sturgeon publication was made possible with support by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lake Restoration Initiative (GL-97221410), SRMT's St. Lawrence River Area of Concern Program, and SRMT Communications Department.

Scientific teachings about Lake Sturgeon propagation and fish stocking was shared with AFS students by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, while cultural teachings and language translation and edits were shared by SRMT's Áse Tsi Tewá:ton Program and AFS teachers.

The bilingual Lake Sturgeon book is available at SRMT Environment Division, 449 Frogtown Road in Akwesasne, New York. For more information, please call (518) 358-5937.

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