Tsiionhiakwatha/ Droulers Archeological Site
Chief Louis Lazore (MCA), Chief Barbara Lazore (SRMT) and Minister Geoffrey Kelly inaugurate repaired longhouse.
Tsiionhiakwatha archaeological site and interpretation centre, located near St Anicet Quebec, provides a glimpse into our ancestors’ pre-contact past. The site was discovered in 1974 when a St. Anicet farmer found a stone adze (axe head) while preparing his field. Pottery was discovered at the site in 1990, and soon archaeologist began to take notice.
Reconstructed village is enclosed by a palisade
Archaeological research of the site began in 1991, with excavations getting under way by 1993. The actual scope of what was being excavated sent reverberations trough the Quebec archaeological community, since the artifacts being unearthed at Tsiionhiakwatha were quickly becoming the largest and most significant Iroquoian village ever to be surveyed archeologically in the province.
A wide range of objects have been found since excavations began, including clay pottery, clay tobacco pipes, bone tools, harpoons, awls, seeds—corn and beans—as well as some structures such as fireplaces and other earthworks. Archaeologists have dated the finds and the site to approximately 1450 AD, and have suggested that as many as 600 to 800 people inhabited the village that lived in 15 longhouses. To date only 2% of the site has been excavated.
Ernest Benedict examines replica artifact
People from Akwesasne have worked on the archaeological excavation, as well as the 1997 construction of a replica of an authentic Iroquoian longhouses circa 1450 AD, which stands at the Interpretation Centre adjacent to the excavation site. This authentic Iroquoian village is the only one in existence in Quebec.
The Mohawk name Tsiionhiakwatha, means “where we pick berries,” although it is commonly known as the Droulers site, referring to the family name of the people who presently live on the property.
The Interpretation Centre and the onsite Tsiionhiakwatha Museum were created by the efforts of Mohawk Council of Akwesasne in cooperation with the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs and the Municipality of St Anicet. Currently, the board of directors includes the Mimi Marlier as president; Sarah Herne as vice president; Francois Boyer as co-vice president; Pierre Pleau as secretary; and, Angie Green, Salli Benedict, Philippe Decloitre, Nicole Lecourse, Alain Castagner, Gerry Leroux, Ginette Caza as administrators.
Tsiionhiakwatha Board of Directors. L to R: Philipe Decloitre, Pascal Perron, Alain Castagner, Mimi Marlier, Gerry Leroux, Angie Green, Francoys Boyer, Ginette Caza, Francois Terreault, Sarah Herne
Strong winds tore the roof off of the Turtle Clan longhouse a few winters ago, and given the time and difficulty involved in repairing the roof with traditional materials, the managers of the site opted to use thin sheets of ply wood to repair the damaged roof. This past October, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne District Chief Louis Lazore Sr and St. Regis Tribal Council Chief Barbara Lazore, accompanied by the Quebec Minister of Native Affairs Geoffrey Kelly, re-inaugurated the newly repaired longhouse.
Area dignitaries visit inagural event at Tsiionhiakwatha
There is a great deal of interest in the Tsiionhiakwatha/Droulers Site Museum and Interpretation Centre, both by Akwesasne residents as well as those in neighboring communities. The Museum and interpretation centre is closed for the winter and will re-open on the 8th of May 2007.