Long Point First Nation School

Client: Long Point First Nation and INAC

Location: Winneway, Quebec

Area: 2390 sq. m.

Cost: 6.1 million

The Long Point First Nation settlement in Winneway is a semi-isolated community on the beautiful shores of Lake Simard and the Winneway River in the region of Temiscaming in Western Quebec. At the base of this community’s beliefs is the notion of respect. Everything has its purpose and deserves respect just as much as anything else. Another strong element of their belief system is the circle. This is reflected in their hunting habits: When families are moving to their winter territories, they use a different section of land each year, in rotation. This ensures the forest has time to regenerate it’s resources. The community’s philosophy has roots in total balance and harmony with nature.

The community began their journey to build a new school made largely with natural and/or native materials and local labour; created to be entirely resistant to mould, and incorporating their Indigenous culture, language and philosophy of balance and harmony. Items such as geothermal energy are noted as one of many items that should be evaluated for a new construction project. The leadership deemed this to be harmonious with nature and would significantly reduce operating costs moving into the future.

The overall plan is reminiscent of a beehive, which falls in line with the elders’ vision of the school. The name of the school in the Algonquin language is translated into “the beehive” where young students are nurtured and fed vital nutrients in order to grow and develop into adults.