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Turtle Island Aqua quenching Maritimers’ thirst for locally bottled water

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A First Nation-owned spring water company in Esgenoopetitj First Nation is botting its product straight from a local spring.

"There's three of us,” said Chkwabun Sappier, vice president of Turtle Island Aqua. “Me and Rocky are from Neqotkuk, which is Tobique First Nation, and my husband is from Esgenoopetitj, which is in Burnt Church and we are an Aboriginal-owned business.”

The water comes from, and is bottled in, rural New Brunswick.

"It comes from a spring source in northeastern New Brunswick, Caraquet - Village Blanchard,” Sappier said. “The spring water itself has won international tasting awards.”

The product's name also honours their Indigenous cultures.

"It's used by most First Nations across North America – they use it in reference to our land base itself,” said Curtis Bartibogue, director of operations of Turtle Island Aqua. "It's used in our creation stories, in history. It's been referred to right from the west coast, down to even southern United States, to right here in Mi'kma'ki and Wolastoqey territory.”

They have sweet plans in the works for a flavoured product – honey water.

"With addition to our honey water, we'll have a honey raspberry flavour, and possibly a honey lemon flavour,” Bartibogue said.

While many First Nations struggle with clean water sources, Turtle Island Aqua says it is proud to be able to offer their product.

"That was kind of surprising in itself, to hear of a First Nations company having access to the purest water in Canada,” Sappier said. 

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