The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Ahkwesáhsne Cultural Restoration (ACR) Program was established in 2013 as a result of the St. Lawrence Environment Natural Resources Damage Assessment Settlement. The ACR Program, also known as “Áse Tsi Tewá:ton,” which means “make it new again,” is a four year Cultural Apprenticeship Program focused on four traditional, land-based, cultural practices: fishing and the use of the river; horticulture and traditional foods; medicine plants and healing; and hunting and trapping. From 2013-2017, the staff at the ACR comprised of five masters, four language specialists, 13 apprentices and four administrators.
Through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, Akwesasne was able to evaluate and restore wildlife, habitats, and human resources impacted by hazardous waste sites upriver from the territory. Due to the loss of land-based cultural teachings in the language, ACR’s vision was also to promote the use of Kanien’kéha. ACR’s Institutional Funding was able to support the language revitalization initiative known as the Kanien’kéha Owenna’shón:ah Signage Project through the Akwesasne Cultural Center-Museum. The signage project provides Kanien’kéha signage and visibility across Akwesasne through participating businesses and organizations, as well as to educating the community of river use, medicinal plants along trails, traditional foods at gardening areas, and inclusion of cultural meanings trough signs. The Kanien’kéha Owenna’shón:ah Signage strives to strengthen the language, culture, and environmental reverence in Akwesasne’s public spaces.