Today we reflect on the deeply embedded settler-colonial and white-supremacist roots this country was built on. We stand in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples who have made calls to #CancelCanadaDay.
In the words of Jesse Wente (Anishinaabe), chairperson of the Canada Council for the Arts, “We don’t just need allies, we need accomplices.”
We strive to be accomplices.
For non-Indigenous folks, here are some actions, resources, and questions that we are considering on this day:
We are all treaty people. Learn the history of the land you are on and don’t rely on your Indigenous friends and colleagues to do this work for you. Check out: native-land.ca and whose.land/en, land back resources and Yellowhead Institute.
Read and familiarize yourself with the Calls to Action identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the Calls for Justice identified by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and reach out to your government representatives at all levels of government to implement them. Yellowhead Institute published a status update on Reconciliation in Dec 2019.
Learn more about residential schools: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFgNI1lfe0A
Take a course: coursera.org/learn/indigenous-canada
Reflection on important questions
What are you grateful for?
How do you care for this land?
How can we practice reciprocity to the people whose land we are occupying?
If you are able to donate, amplify, support: Here are some local Indigenous led organizations:
The Haudenosaunee peoples are advocating for their land. “The Haudenosaunee have an absolute right to self-determination in their traditional territories. Stopping unwanted development is critical to establishing meaningful nation-to-nation relationships and achieving reconciliation. Canada, Ontario, municipalities, investors and developers must end the unwanted exploitation of our lands and waters.”
Learn more: protectthetract.com
Save the Evidence is a campaign to raise awareness and support for the restoration of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School, and to develop the building into an Interpreted Historic Site and Educational Resource. As a site of conscience, the final goal is to create a fully-realized Interpretive Centre that will be the definitive destination for information about the history of Residential Schools in Canada, the experiences of Survivors of the schools, and the impact that the Residential School system has had on our communities.
Our community overwhelmingly wanted to repair the building – to Save the Evidence of what happened there during this dark chapter in Canadian history and to ensure this history is never forgotten.
The Indian Residential School Survivor Society (IRSSS) is a provincial organization with a twenty-year history of providing services to Indian Residential School Survivors.
IRSSS provides essential services to Residential School Survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational traumas.
Founded in 2002, ArtsCan Circle is a registered charity dedicated to confronting the multiple realities and inequalities facing First Nations, Innu, Inuit and Métis youth in remote, Northern communities. As well as to convey one clear message to the youth: You are valued, and your voices are important.
Since then, ArtsCan Circle has sent artists to over 16 communities to facilitate creative art workshops for the youth. In addition, they have shipped over 40,000 harmonicas and countless violins, keyboards, fiddles, ukuleles and guitars, and impacted over 10,000 Indigenous youth.
Learn more and donate: artscancircle.ca
The Centre for Indigenous Theatre (CIT), an institution offering a unique Indigenous cultural, theatre and performance training program. CIT contributes to the advancement of an Indigenous cultural economy and the Arts generally, helping to mould young talent and professionals, organizing community presentations and workshops, and by working closely with alumni to share our learnings and our craft in a culturally appropriate and inviting setting.
A space for Indigenous artists to explore their creativity in a supportive environment to reduce some of the risks and uncertainties the characterize non-Indigenous learning environments.
Learn more and donate: indigenoustheatre.com
The Indigenous Curatorial Collective / Collectif des commissaires autochtones (IC/CA) is an Indigenous run and led non-profit organization that aims to support and connect fellow Indigenous curators, artists, writers, academics, and professionals through various methods of gathering. The IC/CA engages in critical discourses, increases professional opportunities for our members, develops programming, and most importantly works to build reciprocal relationships with Indigenous curators, artists, communities and the institutions we engage with.
Learn more: acc-cca.com/about
Check out The Knowledge Within Us, an education initiative of the ACC.
Image: Melisse Watson, Adassligi (Blessings), 2020
Native Canadian Centre of Toronto is a membership‑based, charitable organization located in the heart of downtown Toronto [offering] a wide range of programs and services based on Indigenous cultural traditions and teachings.
Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction is a response to the pandemic of ongoing colonization and lack of services for the urban Indigenous population.
TIHR aims to reduce the negative impacts of substance use and other stigmatized behaviours and experiences through culture and unconditional support.
TIHR is an entirely queer and Two‑Spirit Indigenous collective founded by Nanook Gordon, co led by Brianna Olson Pitawanakwat and Lua Mondor and supported by Dashmaawaan Bemadzinjin (They feed the people) and countless volunteers.
Follow them on instagram: @torontoindigenousharmreduction
Native Arts Society was inspired by “art days” which began in May 2020 at one of the encampments and on a street corner in Parkdale, Toronto. All pieces are donated by the Artista or by someone who wants to contribute to our cause by donating art in their possession. All proceeds will go towards opening the only Queer/Trans Indigenous‑owned and run art studio, gallery, and storefront in Toronto.
Help support for the Native Arts Society with a new Studio & Gallery: DONATE
Toronto Council Fire Cultural Centre provides counselling, material assistance and other direct services to First Nations people as well as to encourage and enhance spiritual and personal growth.
Check out Myseum of Toronto Indigenous resource list for allies