Turtle Lodge Trading Post Inc. (TLTP) is an Indigenous owned home-based wholesale/retail company in Clayton, (Almonte) Ontario.
TLTP carries whole leaf organic Semah, a variety of Sages, Sweetgrass (loose & braids), a variety of other herbs and shells, broadcloth, pouches, art crafts, and much, much more.
For years we watched good people struggle with uncertainties about the availability, cost, quality & source for their ceremonial medicines & tools. Thus TLTP was born. Since 2006, we have made it our mission to become a trusted source for these products. We believe it is this care & concern for quality & respect for the plant world that allow us to offer the level of excellence that our customers have come to expect.
We are located on 10 acres of mostly bush land in Clayton, Ontario. We don’t have a physical store, per say. Just rooms full of shelves and bins. The entire first level (and then some) of our house has been converted for business use as we’ve grown. We operate by appointment for pick up, and are mainly a mail order company, plus we have “Turtle on the Road” where you can find us with a table of products on a regular bi-weekly/monthly basis at various locations, such as the Kumik Elder's Lodge & the Wabano Centre for Indigenous Health. This business model allows us more time for family and the land, and the flexibility to continue studies, attend lodges and gatherings and support other amazing people and organizations that are doing wonderful things.
For the past several years, TLTP has been the driving force in Canada for the establishment of Tobacco licencing specifically for ceremonial use. We have spent and continue to spend countless hours trail blazing and mapping out this path, educating, and determining how best to "police" this effort so that sacred Semah only reaches those it is intended for. We are currently the only company in Canada licenced to carry whole leaf organic Semah specifically for ceremonial use. Visit the main Semah page for more details.
SACRED MEDICINES ARE NOT FOR SALE!
Mother Earth provides a rich abundance of food and other materials for our use, and asks little in return other than for us to respect and look after Her and each other. Traditionally, sacred medicines are gifted, traded, grown, or harvested from the wild. However, in today’s society, it is not always practical or possible to honour the medicines in exactly those ways, especially for folks living in cities.
Turtle Lodge Trading Post Inc. (TLTP) was born of this necessity, and has become a vehicle for providing quality medicines for ceremonial use. This business supports us so that we can continue to support the community in a variety of ways. We are a for-profit business by legal definition because we need to make a living and keep a roof over our heads. But we are deeply committed to the people and also involved in a variety of community endeavours, so supporting us means you are also supporting the People.
We steer away from providing any ceremonial information on our website with few exceptions. TLTP does NOT sell ceremony. We will always encourage you to seek the guidance of an Elder in your own community, if possible. If you have questions we will be happy to answer them to the best of our ability, or direct you to someone who may be able to help.
PLEASE REMEMBER, whenever you ask for or are gifted with a teaching it is always appropriate to make an offering of Semah. If you can't do it in person, an offering to Mother Earth is an appropriate alternative.
All our herbal products are either purchased from organic or ethically wildcrafted sources. Many are also certified Kosher. Whenever possible, we purchase from Indigenous harvesters and suppliers and are always ready to help new Indigenous entrepreneurs. Many of our products are locally sourced but, if demand outweighs supply, we sometimes import herbs from trusted sources outside the region. Above all else, we pride ourselves on quality and service and have established a solid reputation over the years.
A LITTLE ABOUT OUR PRESIDENT:
I have felt the pull of the Grandmothers and Grandfathers directing me towards the Red Path since my troubled teen years. Around 20-25 years ago it became a calling I could no longer ignore. When I firmly stepped on the path, I was blessed to encounter well respected teachers who were Lakota, Cree, Algonquin and Mohawk Elders. Many of my teachings are from these traditions.
Knowledge of my families’ Indigenous ancestry is limited, however we have confirmed Metis, Mi'kmaq and Wendat. The Mi'kmaq lineage is from both parents. They were survivors of a time where being “Indian” was viewed negatively. To protect the children and themselves, many of our relatives denied or just didn’t speak about their past. I have heard this story repeated many times from those I have encountered along the trail.
A few years prior to starting TLTP, I worked for and did a herbal apprenticeship with an Elder Herbalist with German ancestry with whom I had fond connection with up until her passing in 2018. I was also blessed to work closely with the late Algonquin Elder William Commanda, (1913-2010) during the last 15 years of his life. I continue to support his longtime companion and co-director of his Circle of All Nations organization, Romola Thumbadoo, in her efforts to continue his work and keep his vision alive.
While TLTP was still in its infancy, from 2007 to 2012 I worked for Donna Cona Inc. (DC), an Indigenous IT and business development firm in Ottawa. There I applied several decades of accounting and multimedia skills, which included producing the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation's (MMFN) band's newsletters for several years. Both tasks required me to travel to the MMFN in New Brunswick a couple of times a year. It was an amazing experience and the MMFN and its People remain dear to my heart.
My resume is long and varied but I'll stop there. Suffice to say I have worn many hats over the years, but I honestly feel like it's all been leading me to this. Just about every skill I have acquired along the way has proven beneficial since TLTP crawled out of its shell and into my heart.
I'm so deeply honoured to be doing the work I'm doing today. Every moment of every day I am fully aware of how blessed I am. I truly hope it shows in everything TLTP does for those who support us. We’ve met so many amazing people on this path. We offer our deep, heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years. Your encouragement, loyalty and wisdom are greatly appreciated!
Chi Miigwetch (thank you!)
THE TURTLE ON THE ROAD PROGRAM:
In 2015, the Kumik Elder’s Lodge in Hull, QC invited us to bring our products to the lodge on a regular basis. Several months later, the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health invited us to do the same at their Monday Culture Night. We are very grateful for their support and encouragement. The program has become known as our TURTLE ON THE ROAD program.
TURTLE ON THE ROAD (TOR) REPRESENTATIVES:
FRANCINE & JOHN HENRI COMMANDA
Francine and John Henri Commanda, began working as TOR hosts in the fall of 2017, and look after our regular monthly visits to the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health.
Kate Mackenzie became a TOR host in the fall of 2018 looking after our biweekly visits to the Kumik Elder's Lodge.