Exciting day for Washow Lodge at Adventure Travel Summit

20 10 2009

The Moose Cree First Nation and Washow Lodge were given significant recognition today as Becky Pelkonen accepted a scholarship award on their behalf from Teva and the Adventure Travel Trade Association in Charlevoix, Quebec.  Attendees from over 50 countries and various travel businesses, media outlets, and organizations were in attendance.  It was a humbling yet exciting day for Washow and we`d like to thank Teva and ATTA for the phenomenal recognition and award.  Meegwetch from the Moose Cree!

Becky Pelkonen with Shannon Stowell of ATTA (left) and Liz Ferrin of Teva (right)

Becky Pelkonen with Shannon Stowell of ATTA (left) and Liz Ferrin of Teva (right)


Meet Washow’s Managers

24 08 2009

Well it is high time that we formally introduce ourselves.  As Washow Lodge’s managers we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to finalize all programs, services, and info pertaining to Washow.  Although a long process, things have been coming along grand and we look forward to opening Washow Lodge’s doors with the community as soon as we get our final stamp of approval at the end of this week.

Until that time, we’d like to introduce ourselves to those who don’t know us already:

Sinclair Trapper – “I’ve been hired as the Operations Manager for Washow Lodge.  Although I’ve been based out of Moose Factory since I started on back in March, I will be spending most of my time out in Hannah Bay once Washow Lodge is operating.  My traditional camp is out across the creek from Washow and my trap line is in that area, along the Harricanaw River and out to Hannah Bay.  I have fond memories of growing up out there and harvesting the land and want to share those memories with guests.  I will be making sure operations run smoothly and safely and I have a few good stories to share also.”

Sinclair Trapper

Sinclair Trapper on his homeland

Becky Pelkonen – “I’ve been working as Washow’s Marketing and Development Manager since February, 2009.  I guess I’m an outsider to the community here, but feel like the James Bay region is becoming ‘home’ and I love and respect the Cree way of life.  My passion lies in making tourism work for a community and making experiences incredible for guests in return.  I’m so excited about how Washow Lodge is taking shape and feel our local Cree hosts have so much to offer.  They don’t hold back in sharing their knowledge and stories and they certainly don’t hold back in sharing laughs either!  We all look forward to hosting guests soon…welcome!”

Becky Pelkonen

Becky Pelkonen in Moose Factory

Hosting Sylvie Blangy

23 07 2009

We were extremely proud and humble to have hosted our friend and ecotourism academic/consultant, Sylvie Blangy earlier this month.  Sylvie has visted and worked with our community twice before and we were very enthusiastic to have her back.  This time around, we worked with Sylvie on conducting a number of community engagement workshops on cultural rejuvenation, arts/crafts business development, youth programming, and tourism partnerships.  She also had a chance to see the most recent developments out at Washow Lodge.

Sylvie has passed on a number of skills to our tourism department at Moose Cree First Nation for us to start conducting our own community workshops.  The idea is to truly use Washow to benefit as many community members as possible.  In the coming months we will be hosting a number of community-focused workshops out at Washow Lodge and we will welcome artisans, Chief & Council, youth, elders, and the broader community.

To see more of Sylvie’s work, contacts, and partners please vist her website here.

A happy reunion between Clarence Trapper and Sylvie

A happy reunion between Clarence Trapper and Sylvie in Moose Factory

Hosting Sylvie out on the land

Sinclair Trapper hosting Sylvie out on the land

Tuktu–Poro–Atihk Workshop & Conference

15 06 2009

The Washow team (Sinclair Trapper, Clarence Trapper, & Becky Pelkonen) has just returned back to Moose Factory from an enlightening workshop in Ottawa on creating better partnerships and links between arctic-based aboriginal ecotourism providers and academic researchers/institutions.  The workshop focused on indigenous peoples found in arctic areas and we made many new Inuit, Quebec Cree, Sami, and Orachen friends from across Canada and around the world alongside forward-thinking academics from the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Lakehead University, UNBC, and Acadia University, to name a few.

The most interesting outcome was discovering that the James Bay Cree share many of the same issues with other indigenous groups from across the globe.  We all share the same concerns on cultural and environmental loss and degradation and find ourselves committed to the same cause – using ecotourism as a way to both rejuvenate and protect these sacred things for generations to come.

It was an intimate workshop facilitated by Sylvie Blangy, a leading aboriginal ecotoruism consultant (see here) who we also look forward to hosting in Moose Factory at the end of this month.  Welcome, Sylvie and meegwetch to all those who shared their stories and expertise with us in Ottawa.

The Sami identifying stakeholders and partners within their regions in Norway and Sweden.

Sami representatives identifying stakeholders and partners within their regions in Norway and Sweden.

A gift from the Orachen in China presented to the Moose Cree First Nation and Washow Lodge.

A gift from the Orachen in China presented to the Moose Cree First Nation and Washow Lodge.

The whole group of community-level aboriginal ecotourism providers preparing from a great day out in Ottawa.

The whole "community" gang! Community-level aboriginal ecotourism providers preparing for a great day out in Ottawa.

New Renderings of Washow Lodge

2 06 2009

We’re really excited about the new renderings we had completed for Washow Lodge. We promise to have photography complete in the next couple of months – until then, enjoy our renderings! Simply click on the text below:

Washow Lodge aerial view

Washow Lodge eye level view

The latest on construction…

17 03 2009

We all know the community has been playing the waiting game on construction for almost 10 long years…but the patience has paid off.  We are merely steps away from completion with the bulk of work already polished off by the incredibly hard-working and dedicated construction team.

We are still on target for a community opening this summer.  At the moment, we are waiting for final approval by the Porcupine Health Unit on our grey water system.  Once approved (hopefully any day now), we will implement our environmentally-focused engineer’s plans for an acceptable system meeting all governmental standards and requirements.

From here, we are looking at 2 x 3 week work sessions with a final session in June to finish off our “eco-plumbing” and take care of the finer details.

Come June, we will look to the community for insight and ideas on the final touches within and outside of Washow Lodge.  We welcome anyone and everyone to get involved!

If you have any comments, questions, or ideas regarding Washow progress, feel free to leave them below or send them privately to mdm@washow.ca.  Meegwetch!

Many thanks to the hard working crew!

Many thanks to the hard working crew!


13 03 2009

Welcome to our Washow Lodge blog.  We welcome all community members and friends of the project to this space.  The aim of this space is to keep you updated on the progress leading up to our opening which is projected for Summer, 2009.  It will also allow you an open forum to lend your own insight and comments.  Thanks for visiting and we hope to see you often!