Jeff Bounds (Saltash Mt. Camp and Quester director) and Tulio Browning (past Timberlake director and current TL director support) traveled to the Akwesasne Reservation in northern New York to visit with current and future camper families.  Akwesasne is a Mohawk Nation territory that lies on both sides of the St. Lawrence River in present-day Canada and the United States.  Jeff and Tulio hung out with both current and former campers Oakley, Ashton, Widgi, Rakwirahes (Luh-gwee-luh-hess) , Tanakehrahne (Done-ah-gah-lah’-neh), Natalie and Jorja and listened to their marvelous stories about the farm animals, building the new Tamarack Farm Art Barn, creating debris shelters, and forming close friendships during the previous summer.

Farm & Wilderness has long had a special relationship with the Akwesasne.  In F&W’s early days, Capt. Bill Cook, a young Mohawk leader, worked at the newly established Timberlake camp to share indigenous lore and traditions. Bill, known at camp as “Wakio” and “Flying Cloud,” was an inspiration to campers, staff and the Farm & Wilderness founders. Sadly, he was killed in a military training accident in the early 1950’s, but his legacy at Farm & Wilderness remains. The F&W camp Flying Cloud was named in his honor. Cook’s son and daughter both attended F&W camps and passed the tradition down to his grandchildren, who are also F&W alums.

In 2017, F&W reconnected with Tsiorasa Cook-Barreiro, Cook’s grandson and current Executive Director of the St. Regis Akwesasne Tribe and formed a new partnership. This partnership would create opportunities for cultural exchange and allow F&W staff to broaden the scope of their outreach . Since its founding, Farm & Wilderness has been committed to building a diverse community – socio-economically, racially, and geographically –  as an expression of the Quaker values to which we aspire.

This coming summer, we are exploring ways to deepen our partnership: perhaps through hiring young Akwesasne adults as counselors, inviting Mohawk or Abenaki artisans to teach camper workshops, or taking a trip up to the Akwesasne reservation. Most importantly, we are looking forward to having many of our friends return (that’s you—Oakley, Ashton, Widgi, Rakwirahes, Tanakehrahne, Natalie and Jorja!)

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