From Pre Contact to Present Day: A Tour of Mohawk Life

Learn traditional Akwesasne Mohawk basket weaving with a local expert

Akwesasne is known as the Haudenosaunee community with the strongest continuous tradition of basket making. Basket-making is a cultural process; a way of learning about the cycles of nature and the right way to live in balance with the land by the careful gathering of materials.

Akwesasne Mohawk Cultural Tour Through Time

Immerse yourself in Mohawk culture with cultural educators at Native North American Traveling College, a nonprofit cultural center dedicated to preservation, revitalization and education of Mohawk ways of life. This guided Indigenous cultural tour provides guests with a better understanding and experience of the Mohawk peoples’ culture, experiences, and storytelling. You’ll learn about our Creation Story, the importance of our Mohawk language, and get to handle various objects from our museum’s expansive collection!

Tour Highlights

  • Viewing and handling authentic cultural items, such as pottery shards, and musical instruments
  • Learn how to say a few words in our beautiful language
  • Guided tour of Mohawk life before first contact
  • Visit to a miniature replica longhouse
  • A short musical demonstration

Tour Description

The tour begins with a welcome to Akwesasne Territory and introduction to your cultural hosts and the Native North American Traveling College. Next, guests will hear the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) “Creation Story”, which describes the creation of the world and how people came to live in it. Then your hosts will share the traditional Thanksgiving Address. The hosts will then give an overview of Akwesasne’s history from pre-contact to present day. Guests will also learn about Indigenous traditions around food sourcing and preparation, and early treaties after first contact.

Native North American Traveling College
Native North American Traveling College
Native North American Traveling College
Native North American Traveling College

Your hosts will also share traditional stories and music, including a live demonstration of a traditional song. Guests will also learn a few Mohawk phrases, and your hosts will offer friendly guidance on pronunciation.

Guests will also be given exclusive access to touch different cultural items, such as pottery shards, replica wampum belts, and musical instruments. The tour ends with a visit to the gift shop, where guests can purchase locally made crafts and books about Mohawk culture and history.

Meet Your Hosts

Your tour will be hosted by one or two cultural educators, depending on the tour group size.

Lorna Thomas is a cultural educator, artisan and curator from the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory. Her  Mohawk name is Kanohkwahawi (Guh-no-gwa-ha-wee),which translates to “She carries her ancestors”. She is from a bear clan and was born and raised in Akwesasne, where she has lived most of her life. She attended the Akwesasne Freedom School, a Mohawk immersion school whose curriculum is based on our seasonal calendar and our language. She recently graduated from SUNY Potsdam, where she majored in Women’s and Gender Studies, and minored in Museum Studies, Native Studies, and Anthropology. She has also been a co-curator at SUNY Potsdam, and is currently curating a small exhibition at The Wild Center.

Mikayla Francis is also a cultural educator, multimedia specialist, singer and dancer from the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory. Her Mohawk name is Karonhianonha (Guh-Loon-hya-new-huh), which translates to “She Protects the Skies” and is from the wolf clan of Akwesasne. She has worked at The Native North American Traveling College since 2019 as a Travel Troupe Singer, dancer, AV technician and now cultural educator. 

Native North American Traveling College
Native North American Traveling College

Tour Duration

  • 2 hours

What To Bring

  • Bring an open and inquisitive mind!

What's Included

  • Museum admission fee
  • Guided museum tour by Akwesasne cultural hosts/storytellers
  • Disposable gloves for handling artifacts

What's Not Included

  • Transportation to the NNATC museum
  • Souvenirs (available for purchase)

Tour Price

  • USD $59.00 per guest
  • Minimum group size = 2 guests
  • Maximum group size = 10 guests

Virtual Tour Option

You can now enjoy the Native North American Travel College’s “Living Culture With Mohawk Interpretation” tour virtually from the comfort of your own home. Simply click on the link to go to Airbnb’s Online Experiences and find out more about his virtual tour today!