Testimonials & Gratitude
This page is intended to offer both gratitude and share testimonials. We did not have a testimonials page on our old website, although it had been suggested many times, so we thought we'd rectify that with this new site. We are deeply humbled and grateful for all the support as well as the lovely comments that folks have taken the time to send over the years.
Chi miigwetch to the Federal Economic Development Agency
for the Women's Entrepreneurship Funding we received!
Our 2020 www.turtlelodgetradingpost.ca Shopify website was made possible by this grant, which also enabled us to upgrade our accounting and inventory solutions, and many of our other systems and equipment, as well as begin the process of expanding our Ceremonial Semah licencing into other provinces. These upgrades will help us to continue serving the community for many years to come.
Chi miigwetch to the Kumik Elder's Lodge and The Wabano Centre for Indigenous Health for continuing to welcome Turtle on The Road!
In 2015, Luc Lacroix, the Administrator at 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. This evolved into what has become known as our TURTLE ON THE ROAD program.
We offer a warm and special thank you to Luc, and to the current administration and the Elders in residence, especially Elder Barbara Brant, Ted Silverhand, and the other Elders and employees who, without hesitation, fiercely stepped up to the plate to support our continued presence at Kumik. We are eternally grateful. Chi miigwetch to all of you!!!
Chi miigwetch to Grandfather William Commanda, Romola Thumbadoo and the Circle of All Nations!
Without Grandfather William and Romola, I'm not sure any of this would have ever been possible. They have been among my dearest supporters, encouraging me even in my lowest, "not worthies" moments. I'm so grateful for everything I learned at Grandfather's knee while he was alive, and his continued guidance and protection from beyond, and the gift of being a part of the magic in his world, including the amazing opportunity of working closely with the two of them on many of their numerous projects. I'm also deeply grateful for the continued friendship, incredible role model and tireless efforts of Romola, his longtime companion and co-director of his organization, Circle of All Nations. With each passing year, I come to understand more and more how wisely he chose for this incredible woman to be his partner.
CHI MIIGWETCH TO ALL OUR CUSTOMERS, EMPLOYEES AND OTHER SUPPORTERS!!
Without you, none of this would be possible. I want to especially thank absolutely everyone for their patience and support this past couple of years, helping me through the ups and downs, and for understanding my need to 'hibernate' to keep my nose to the grindstone while working on the business plan, grant applications, Tobacco licencing issues, and development of this website. VERY special thanks to my wonderful partner Bernard for his love, patience, technical writing skills, and the countless meals served to me at my desk.
Last but definitely not least, I offer huge gratitude to TLTP's hardworking, truly amazing employees and TOR reps, Kate, Cynthia, Kira, Tracey, Tamara, Lucas, Francine and John Henri. I could not ask for a better team. I love you all!!
I am writing to express full support for Ms. Karen Bisson’s application to the Women Entrepreneurship Fund.
I have known Karen since the early 2000s, in my capacity as Coordinator of the Circle of All Nations, a global eco peace community founded by Late Algonquin Elder William Commanda, recipient of two Honorary Degrees, and Officer of the Order of Canada. Over the years, she has supported much of our Circle of All Nations work, pro bono, including developing and maintaining our Asinabka website, creating posters, newsletters, tee shirts and promoting our work, and this has contributed to the recognition of our work. The website www.asinabka.com in particular features significantly in my doctoral thesis on the environmental legacy of Elder Commanda.
Karen is a remarkable, independent, self-made entrepreneur who has developed a wide range of skills in accounting/book keeping/financial management; in art, web and graphic design and publishing (she did the graphic design work for our full colour biography, Learning from a Kindergarten Dropout, in 2005); and in healing and social welfare environments. She has worked with a range of companies at critical moments of technological innovation in the digital communications industry, and she has constantly upgraded her knowledge and skills in ever new, leading-edge business and technological advances. After the stability of work in the established Indigenous business, Donna Cona Inc., she launched into the foundation and operation of her own business, Turtle Lodge Trading Post, in her customary hands-on fashion, making her services and organic herbs, trade art goods and products available to diverse range of clients, from Indigenous elders and organizations, to government departments and to the community at large throughout the National Capital Region and beyond. As her business has grown, she has taken on staff, contributing to job creation, especially amongst women. At the same time, she has also made time to support the Circle of All Nations’s unfunded and sometimes controversial work.
She now proposes to develop her business further through a major e-commerce overhaul, inclusive of upgrading of equipment, technology and communications capacity. She also proposes to expand licensing options to serve clientele beyond Ontario; this is the age of e-commerce, and she well poised to expand her operations and reach, in a market of growing need and interest. She makes
every effort to conduct her work in an ethical manner, and her established Indigenous clients affirm full satisfaction with her services.
It is noted that most small businesses are owned and operated by women, and they contribute to the maintenance of a critical component of this country’s market economy. Karen Bisson is a Metis woman who is putting her diverse range of skills, knowledge and experience into further developing a unique enterprise, and I fully support this application and wish her every success.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information.
Romola V. Thumbadoo, PhD
Coordinator, Circle of All Nations
Research Associate and Administrator
Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre, Carleton University
My name is Luc Lacroix and I am a Registered Algonquin from the Ottawa Valley. I became aware of Karen Bisson and the Turtle Lodge Trading Post (TLTP) when I first began working (as Administrator of Kumik Elder's Lodge) in 2012. She was referred to me by a few Elders, which to me spoke volumes about the high esteem this person held within the community.
In the years since, TLTP has become one of our main suppliers of traditional medicines and supplies and they have never let us down. Ms. Bisson always goes above and beyond to offer a very high standard of quality service to all her clients. She is very knowledgeable and extremely efficient, pleasant and always very professional and respectful to all. There is always a positive outcome to any problems we may bring to her and she will always ensure that her clients are satisfied and provide them with exactly what they are looking for. Over the years, I have referred her to many Elders and colleagues who visit the Kumik Lodge and she has always had positive relationships with everyone she worked with. I have watched her transform the TLTP from an idea, to building a small part-time operation in her home, to a full time business which has consistently grown over the years without ever losing that personal touch with each of her clients.
The basis for all of our Indigenous teachings revolve around Seven basic teachings: Truth, Love, Honesty, Courage, Respect, Humility and Wisdom. Ms. Bisson uses these as the foundation for everything she does on a daily basis and I am extremely happy to offer this recognition of Ms. Bisson’s skills and abilities. I believe she can undertake any endeavour she chooses to and I wish her every success.
If you require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Good morning Karen
This is Roseann Martin, the Elder Adviser here at Native Womens' Association Canada (NWAC) and I would like to take this time to let you know that the staff here at NWAC support you for all of your services that you have provided us and continue to do so. We are hoping to keep this relationship for a long time. It’s very comforting to know that your services are beneficial for our cultural ceremonies and it helps us from having to contact people from afar. Thank you once again for your continuous support!
Wela’lin, merci, migwetch, niawen, and thank you!
National Aboriginal Policing Services (NAPS)
Thank you for always getting us the items we need when we need it.
The abalone shell arrived safely in the mail today. We're very excited to have it as a smudge bowl for our smudging ceremony at our wedding in May. I'm so glad to have found your shop online and thank you for offering your supplies for sale in such a good way.
My order just arrived. Wow that natural tobacco is very impressive! I will be very happy to be able to provide this to Elders. Your magnet is now proudly displayed in my office.
University of Guelph-Humber
Kwe aweti', kwe kwe Karen!
It has been a pleasure for me each time we had a contact over the phone or via email. Thank you for your help. We appreciate as well the quality of your products as well as you kindness.
Aboriginal Program Officer
My friend JoAnne introduced me to your sage several years ago and I am only buying my sage from you ever since. Thank you for all that you do.
Hello everyone at Turtle Lodge,
It was great to meet you yesterday.
Did a fire ceremony this evening and could not wait to run out of the cigar tobacco that I still have before using yours. So compromised and used a small amount of yours with the cigar tobacco. What an experience! Holding the cigar tobacco, I have been feeling nothing all these times. While holding yours, my whole being felt giddy/happy. Your tobacco is beautiful, and I am sure it makes a big difference for the ceremony.
I expect it should make my property happy when I do the clearing ceremony with your tobacco.
Thank you for making this awesome stuff available and at fair prices.
Looking forward to seeing you again.
I'm very happy with the medicine I bought. I will have to buy some more when I run out. I appreciate that I got my order so promptly, and I feel I can trust the shop owner and workers. I hope to support this shop more and share to my friends.
Kwe Kwe Karen
Have a good day.
I`m presently taking an additional qualification online via Laurentian University, Premières Nations, Métis et Inuits.
Enjoying teaching the kids (kindergarten) about the sharing circle and how to partake, the sacred cedar box I ordered and use with them, with turkey feather, the symbolism associated to painted turtle (indigenous art) on cedar box, the medicine wheel, the prevalence of circles seen everywhere (bird nests, 4 seasons, the pregnant belly, ... : ) About the first inhabitants. So easy to integrate everything in every day learning!
Thank you so much, Karen. I love the products I get from Turtle Lodge. Was at ceremonies all weekend and was able to give away some of the items with such gratitude for all you do, and the quality of the product. Thank you, thank you. I can assure that I will continue to be a customer.
Thank you for sending the beautiful tobacco in time for our gathering! I thought you might like to see a photo of the gifts that were made with it - it is in all of the pouches and ties in these photos.
Wilfrid Laurier University/University of Waterloo