Celebrating Indigenous culture at the Domaine Saint-Bernard
The Montreal organization DestiNATIONS has selected the Domaine Saint-Bernard, in Mont-Tremblant, to host the very first Festival Manitou : Célébrations des cultures autochtones, (Manitou Festival: Celebrations of Indigenous Cultures). This unique event will foster fresh links with the traditions we share.
A new entry in the history of Domaine Saint-Bernard will be written from July 14 to 16, when the 1,500 acre, nature-protecting, eco-tourism park will host the very first Festival Manitou, organized in partnership with the organization DestiNATIONS. While the full program will not be revealed until May 18, we know already that the event will be free of charge and that a big concert will launch the festivities on Friday evening. The two following days will allow visitors to discover the cultures of the eleven Aboriginal nations of Québec. There will be a wealth of activities, including interactive workshops, forest hikes and walks, dances and sampling of foods originating from the First Nations.
“All the attractions and strengths of the Domaine Saint-Bernard will be involved in the program,” explains Mélanie Lumsden, manager of DestiNATIONS. “The lake, the beach, the forest and the Bird Garden will each play their part. In the evenings, visitors will even be able to learn of Aboriginal legends through the Velan astronomy pavilion.”
“This event is completely consistent with our values and we are proud that the Indigenous communities have chosen the Domaine Saint-Bernard. A real-time opportunity to learn and share with these communities is very important for the future,” notes Amelia Puddifer, general manager of the eco-tourism park.
A 150th birthday marked by reconciliation
This festival, which is being held as part of the 150th birthday celebrations of Canada’s Confederation, has received a grant from the federal government and technical assistance from the Ville de Mont-Tremblant.
“Reconciliation with Aboriginal communities across Canada will play a major role in the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday,” said David Graham, MP for Laurentides-Labelle, during a press briefing on March 13 at the Domaine Saint-Bernard’s Velan Pavilion. “In that context, I am very proud to announce that the federal government has awarded a $78,000 grant to the Domaine Saint-Bernard to organize this festival.”
“Enriching ourselves through our differences” – Guy Vincent
“We’ll be in a position to exchange with the Indigenous communities so as to know them better and enrich ourselves through our differences,” stated Guy Vincent, chair of the Domaine Saint-Bernard Trust. “We shall also be able to learn about their cultures, art, and most importantly, to learn more about their way of living in harmony with nature, which is completely in line with the mission of the Domaine Saint-Bernard.”
Sharing similar cultural practices
According to Marie-Josée Parent, general manager of DestiNATIONS, this event will reveal that the Domaine Saint-Bernard offers activities arising from Aboriginal culture and stemming from their traditions. “It will allow us to learn how, as Quebecers and members of the 11 Aboriginal nations, we share traditions and similar cultural practices,” she noted. “Canoeing in the summer, enjoying maple syrup and snowshoeing in winter are activities that come from our traditions and we want to celebrate the exchanges between our nations that have made them what they are today.”
“It’s a nice two-for-one, because we are being invited on the one hand to discover a highly interesting activity and on the other hand, to discover the Domaine Saint-Bernard which is becoming, year over year, an absolute jewel,” added Sylvain Pagé, member for Labelle. “I regret that we didn’t think of highlighting the Aboriginal nations sooner. The historical link with these communities, which include 120,000 individuals in Québec, is very strong. Amelia, who came up with this fantastic idea, can be thrilled with this superb initiative.”
A cultural organization founded in Montreal in 2014, DestiNATIONS : Carrefour International des Arts et Cultures des Peuples autochtones (International crossroads of the arts and cultures of Aboriginal peoples) has as its mission the promotion of traditional and contemporary Aboriginal cultures, to participate in their dissemination, their influence and their production. The organization is currently working to create, in collaboration with Tourisme Autochtone Québec, a central hub for the dissemination and production of international-calibre cultural and tourism-related production dedicated to the discovery of Aboriginal cultures.