LodgePole Arts Alliance looking to purchase Lemoine Point Farm for Indigenous centre

A butterfly flutters along a pathway at Lemoine Point. Photo via Wikicommons.

Ahead of National Indigenous People’s Day, LodgePole Arts Alliance (LPAA) has announced its intentions to establish a publicly accessible, Indigenous-owned, -operated, and -programmed land-based centre for culture and creativity in the Kingston region.

According to a release from LPAA, this will be an inclusive space, grounded in Eastern Woodland (Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe) cultural practices, knowledge and teachings, exhibitions, performances, celebrations, and festivals, all offered from a platform of stewardship and environmental conservancy.

The LPAA is a charitable non-profit governed by an Indigenous Council from across Canada and hosts virtual monthly meetings for Indigenous and non-Indigenous supporters alike. According to the release, its vision came about after a five-year investigation of Indigenous Creative Spaces across Ontario. The investigation exposed how Canada lacks this type of space for Indigenous arts and artists, where storytelling, research, education, agriculture and ceremony can combine to role model leadership in reciprocity and reconciliation.

The organization is working toward the purchase of Lemoine Point Farm in the Collin’s Bay region of Kingston, an area known archaeologically for hosting long-term occupation of Indigenous ancestors. The farm is an 82-acre ecological jewel in the heart of Kingston, adjacent to the Lemoine Point Conservation Area, with one kilometre of natural Lake Ontario shoreline, extensive woodlands and approximately 50 acres of pasture.

The LPAA said it is eager to work with the City of Kingston and a range of community partners to preserve this natural landscape and its beauty for all Kingstonians, visitors, and partners alike.

In acquiring this natural old-growth, shoreline landscape LodgePole’s envisioned space will lead environmental stewardship and embody climate action by providing long term protection for this significant woodland and shoreline through Indigenous teachings, values, knowledge, and caretaking traditions, the organization stated. 

The Centre will reportedly serve as a creative industries incubator for local, regional, national, and international Indigenous and Treaty partner artists, as well as culture sector entrepreneurs. The land-based areas of activity will align with community garden policies and with objectives of contributing to urban food production as part of the City’s own “cultural kitchen” initiative, while exploring community partner relationships to establish an urban farming training centre, according to the release.

LodgePole said its vision is that of an open and inclusive community space with programmed activities including: arts and culture performances, workshops, teaching sessions, conferences, markets and festivals throughout the year and specific to all four seasons. They feel this Centre will be a win-win-win for all. 

“We are asking the City to act on the current opportunity to purchase and secure the land so that it won’t potentially be lost to development in an open market, and then to sell the land to LPAA,” said JP Longboat, founding member of LPAA.

“This would save taxpayers the costs of property acquisition and its long-term management… at the same time, the community would benefit from a protected and publicly accessible natural space”.

LPAA presented their full vision to the City’s Arts and Culture Advisory Committee on Thursday, Jun. 13, 2024, and “received overwhelmingly positive feedback and encouragement” due to the centre’s alignment with multiple aspects of the City’s Strategic Plan, according to the organization. 

“We have also shared our vision with a couple city councillors, the mayor, and Chief Administrator’s Office, but have had little opportunity to present our full vision for discussion to all decision makers – potentially due to the in-camera/confidential nature of real estate negotiations. We hope to engage with City politicians and staff soon to move this vision forward in a timely way,” said Terri-Lynn Brennan, co-founder of LPAA.

According to the release, the outcomes of a well-attended community consultation by the Save Lemoine Point Farm group in January indicated widespread community support for a vision such as LPAA’s. Top recommended uses for the land by attendees included Indigenous leadership, an arts and cultural centre, and preserving natural and agricultural values.  

“It feels like the land is calling out for us to come home,” Brennan said, “to heal and restore our culture through arts, ceremony, education, to reunite with the land, and to share our knowledge and traditions with the region and the world. This geographical point of land is where multiple waterways join and undoubtedly was an important gathering space for our Ancestors. LodgePole can help reestablish this location through the vision we carry forward.”

Longboat summed up his thoughts: “The City supporting and aiding LPAA in securing the land for Indigenous ownership and reciprocity would be a significant forward-thinking act of reconciliation.”

To learn more about LodgePole Arts, visit their website, or stop by their booth (#52) at the 2024 Skeleton Park Arts Festival.

3 thoughts on “LodgePole Arts Alliance looking to purchase Lemoine Point Farm for Indigenous centre

  • I agree completely. It would be a big relief to me if this land passed to the auspices of such a group.

  • This would be a wonderful legacy for the former Coverdale farmland. I wish LodgePole Arts Alliance the best of luck in fulfilling their plans for this very important piece of land. This would be the perfect outcome.

    Kathie Hall

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