As we continue to move forward with the national project of Indigenous reconciliation in what is colonially known as Canada, we have an opportunity to act in ways that reflect deep listening and understanding.
Here on the unceded ancestral Coast Salish lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, colonially known as Vancouver, where this project was envisioned and is being developed, an historical practice of acknowledging the land has developed.
We have come to understand that merely speaking the names of the peoples of this land is not enough. We must leverage our institutional and individual privileges, and seek to work towards equity and justice in ways that allow us to look each other in the eye as we work with comfort and respect. We see our work as ever-evolving, and solemnly hold the responsibility of continuing to learn – and unlearn – how to work in right relations and solidarity.
There are a few examples of how cultural institutions have done the work of inclusion and opportunity provision. In 1999, Canada became home to the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network (APTN), the first national broadcaster in the world with programming by, for, and about Aboriginal Peoples. In 2018, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) launched Indigenous Cinema, a website that offers free streaming of more than 200 titles by Indigenous directors. And in September 2019, the National Arts Centre launched the inaugural season of the first national Indigenous theatre company in the world. There are others; but in this time of Indigenous Renaissance and self-determined artistic excellence, Indigenous artists are still underrepresented and forced into playing characters who are not Indigenous at all if they want to work. The colonial requirement of numbers, statistics, metrics, percentage, and dollar values fails Indigenous peoples in Canada, who have not been regarded as numerically or culturally significant enough.
CultureBrew.Art ensured from its nascence that the platform would be devised with strong input and participation from Indigenous artists and leaders. The work in this regard continues. While working on behalf of all Indigenous and Racialized Artists (IARA), the First Peoples of these lands are at the forefront of our thinking. By working iteratively towards addressing the needs of those who are most marginalized within our ranks, we believe that a solid system that is supportive of all People of Colour is emerging.
We invite you to join us in creating a space where Indigenous Peoples and People of Colour will be able to find each other for self-determined purposes, and for others to easily find IARA to participate in a range of roles within a range of projects.
Acknowledging the land is not enough. It is not enough to merely say the words. We who are not Indigenous have an obligation to daylight, uplift, and support the First Peoples of this land.
CultureBrew.Art offers and invites participation in the implementation of an initiative that supports the national project of Indigenous Reconciliation, and by doing so, become ancestors worth remembering.