Winter market a big win for Kanesatake

The Indigenous winter market, envisioned as a turning point for local tourism, drew more than 4,000 people to Oka Park over the weekend to patronize dozens of vendors from a number of Indigenous communities.

“I am very satisfied with our first edition,” said Véronique Vincent, tourism project manager at Kanesatake Business and Economic Development (KBED), which organized the market.

“I have spoken with the majority of the vendors, and they were all happy with their sales. Some of them went out of stock, and they all want to be aware of the next edition or any other future event that we will be organizing.”

It was not only sales that drove the market’s success but also the cultural showcases, such as workshops and performances.

“There were so many highlights – it’s hard to pick one from another,” said Vincent. “But I know for myself and a few others, some tears came to my eyes when the traditional Kanien’kehá:ka women’s group started singing.”

The prodigious snowfall on Sunday was a hurdle, but organizers and vendors alike were satisfied with the numbers over the weekend.

“The weather on Sunday gave some people cold feet – literally,” said Kanehsata’kehró:non artist Jasmin Gunn, who was part of the organizing team and also had a table.

“I was very busy, and my mom did manage my booth. She had a good time talking with everyone and being my cheerleader,” she said.

She believes the market fulfilled the team’s goals.

“For our first endeavour, it went really well. I had a great time, as overwhelming as the response was. It just goes to show that we really needed something like this,” said Gunn.

“I feel lots of joy in my heart, and I am so happy that we came together to shine,” said Vincent. “It's really just the beginning, and the field is already in motion for us to shine even more. Stay tuned until next time!”

Marcus Bankuti, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door