Artpark has made a commitment to Indigenous Arts programming and awareness with a full season of Indigenous programs built for and by our local Indigenous community. Our programming serves residents from the Indigenous community in Lewiston, Youngstown, and beyond as well as non-Native persons who are interested in learning more about the culture and traditions. 


Earth Day: Celebrating Mother Earth and Spring
April 22, 2022

The second annual celebration of Earth Day at Artpark will capture the interconnectedness and symbiotic relationship of the Natural World seen from the indigenous lens by building awareness of the importance to live in harmony with nature and show our gratitude and love to Mother Earth for all the life-sustaining gifts she continues to provide for us. 

Airing on Artpark’s Facebook on April 22, 2022 viewers will give thanks and greetings to our relatives that show us the first signs of Spring; from the Robin and the songs of their offspring to the delicate tree blossom, the spring greens of the leaves, and grass, the fresh spring smell which surround you and to the rushing sounds of the Niagara River.  “We come together in this circle to celebrate with traditional Haudenosaunee songs, dances, teachings, and storytelling.  

Earth Day is every day and every day we should rightfully focus on living in harmony, peace, and respect with one another and all living things.  Every day we should be reminded that what we do to one part of the web of life, we do to ourselves.  Journey along as we recite the Thanksgiving Address - Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen - which not only communicates spiritual wisdom but also teaches us practical life lessons.


Spring Awakens at Artpark: Preparing and celebrating Mother Earth and the Flower Moon at Artpark's Native American Peace Garden
May 14, 2022 

All are welcome to join us in celebrating May’s Flower Moon and preparing Artpark's Native American Peace Garden for the growing season. This Moon is important as the flowers

 and medicines are given life and begin to bloom. 

The day will open with smudging, a traditional Thanksgiving Address and a special ceremony “Polishing the Covenant Chain” with Dr. Joe Stahlman and Dr. Richard Hamell 

Come in circle with gratitude, love and respect to our Mother the Earth, the Flower Moon and join us with traditional Indigenous songs, dances, teachings, Storytelling and planting to honor our plant world. 

All ages are welcome and please bring your gardening tools should you wish to partake in getting your hands in the soil, work the garden and help her awaken from her winter blanket.


Spring Awakens at Artpark: Re-Boot and Energize
June 4, 2022

This year Artpark and The Plant Shack are pleased to welcome Grandmother Marie Jones - (Mohawk) who will share the teachings of the Fourth Sister, the Sunflower and offer her space in Artpark’s Native American Peace Garden. Listening and exchanging with the earth at the Peace Garden, we will offer gratitude and fuel her with nurturing vibrations with songs for a healthy season and welcome the fourth sister, the Sunflowers to our garden. Guests will explore alignments with natural rhythms and patterns of the garden and rekindle our connections to the natural world. Followed by the interactive “Re-energize" circle with Artpark's Indigenous Art Producer, Michele-Elise Burnett and Director of Artpark's Bridges program Cynthia Pegado. In this mindful movement class, participants will focus on connecting their mind, body and spirit with the landscape and becoming one with the Natural World. Mindful movement class is designed to bring awareness to self and movement in space, centering and grounding the body to the Mother the Earth.


Strawberry Moon Festival 

June 18, 2022

Strawberry Moon Festival is a global celebration built on the Two Row Wampum Teachings that promote all Nations walk together in parallel, with respect, compassion, and understanding to cultivate an inclusive community for our shared future. This festival celebrates the indigenous cultures of the Niagara region through storytelling, music, dance, and arts & crafts. Guests will participate in an inclusive and engaging Native American community gathering. They’ll also be entertained by an eclectic lineup of Native artists performing throughout the lower park earlier in the day, and an evening concert in the Artpark Amphitheater featuring Blue Rodeo and Pamyua! This year's concert will also feature a tribute to Native American musical icon Joanne Shenandoah with a performance by her daughter Leah along with Theresa Bear Fox, Perry Ground and Tonemah in The Circle. 


“Not just a music festival, Strawberry Moon celebrates the fact the sky does not acknowledge borders, as different cultural factions from Western New York and Canada gathered to honor the beginning of a new season and tip their collective cap to the land that sustains us all.” -- The Buffalo News 

Click here for more info!


The Circle: Indigenous Musicians In the Round

A gathering of emerging and established Indigenous singer/songwriters taking turns sharing their songs and the stories behind them in an intimate setting

 surrounded by Artpark’s splendid and breathtaking Niagara River backdrop.   The stories range from poignant, and sad, to humorous and playful.  No matter the story or song, this style of “raw as originally written” unplugged concert always creates a unique sense of community, sharing, and healing which leaves the audience uplifted and amazed by the magic of the lyrics and storytelling.  

Join award-winning local musician Tonemah, Kiowa, Comanche, and Tuscarora as he leads The Circle and explores Indigenous creativity and expression through music. 


The Red Dress Exhibit: If Only These Dresses Could Tell Their Story
 By Michele-Elise Burnett

Based on the 13 Grandmother Moons and the cycle of the women, The Red Dress Exhibit will feature stories of 13 Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) from 13 Indigenous Peoples in WNY and Niagara whose loved ones fell victim to these crimes. This immersive and poignant exhibit of 13 empty Red dresses hanging from trees tells their untold story.  The exhibit is intended to increase awareness for the epidemic of the ongoing horrific systemic racial crimes targeting Indigenous women and girls; to remember the lost lives of the victims; to teach; to give Indigenous women a voice; to inspire a new cross-cultural generation based on inclusivity, compassion, love and; to collectively offer the MMIWG our love, gratitude create a safe, nurturing and welcoming environment for Indigenous Peoples.  With Native women being victims of murder more than 10 times the national average, this exhibit is about empathic LOVE

Each Red dress will be as unique and beautiful as the MMIWG it represents and the ribbons sewn on the dresses will be the keepers of their story. This three-day exhibit will include a downloadable audio produced documentary tour, narrative signage, public participation in a large loom textile blanket creation, and a special opening night intimate acoustic concert by The Circle - featuring Indigenous and allied musicians,  Kenny Lee Lewis, Linda McKenzie, Tonemah and others in an intimate setting sharing the story behind their MMIWG songs.  


Painting by Jill Lunn


Preparing and celebrating Mother Earth and the Harvest Moon at Artpark's Native American Peace Garden
October 22, 2022
All are welcome to join us in celebrating the Harvest Moon and the falling leaves at Artpark's Native American Peace Garden where guests can participate in cultural activities, songs, dances, harvest food and opportunity to shop at over 20 authentic Native American artisans vendor booths".  As we celebrate and give thanks for the harvest, this is also a time when creation makes offerings to Mother Earth in her preparation for the winter months of rest. Come in the circle with gratitude, love, and respect to our Mother the Earth and join us in offering her traditional Indigenous songs, dances, teachings, Storytelling, and planting in honoring our plant world. All ages are welcome and please bring your gardening tools should you wish to partake in getting your “hands in the soil”, work the garden and help her tuck her in to receive her winter blanket of snow.  


Artpark has extensive relationships within all of these communities, but specifically with individuals from the Tuscarora, Cayuga, Seneca and Mohawk Nations.

Programming is planned by Artpark's Indigenous Arts Producer, Michele-Elise Burnett (Métis/Algonquin, Bear Clan). Michele is President of Kakekalanicks, an Indigenous arts and consultancy company which educates, enlightens and entertains broad audiences through the promotion of Indigenous knowledge through art, artists, and performers. Ms. Burnett is the co-founder of Landscape of Nations 360°, a unique Indigenous education and tourism initiative. She is the creator and Artistic Director of the Celebration of Nations and the Indigenous Arts Producer at Artpark, where she curates the Annual Strawberry Moon Festival, and Indigenous Ways of Knowing on-going programming, all which provide a far-reaching platform for the community to embrace and honor the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of Indigenous peoples. Ms. Burnett has recently been part of multiple large and meaningful art installations and memorials in various capacities including the Landscape of Nations Commemorative Memorial in Queenston Ont, the Curtain Call installation at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines Ont, the Native American Peace Garden at Artpark, and conceptualized and produced the Indigenous site reactive audio Journey – "Her Moccasins Talk" for Artpark’s Sonic Trails. Contact