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Statement of Solidarity

“… in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?… It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity." - Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday June 3, 2020

Dear Friends, Family and Colleagues,

As plumes of smoke and voices rise above cities across Turtle Island, in protest of the ongoing structural violence and state sponsored destruction of Black bodies at the hands of the police, we collectively find ourselves in a sadly familiar place and we cannot be silent. We stand in clear and defiant solidarity with our Black relatives across the continent. We acknowledge that the systemic and institutionalized racism and hate that is brutalizing America, is also killing Black peoples here in Canada. We raise our voices in the name of our fallen brothers and sisters, George Floyd, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many others whose lives were taken unjustly. We mourn their needless and violent deaths and lift prayers to their spirits and to their loved ones. Once again, the unheard are speaking, to a cacophony of shattered glass, bursting tear gas canisters, the alarming thud of batons on riot shields and boots on pavement. We ache at the thought of how many more of our relatives will have to use their bodies as a shield against injustice, but we are inspired by the courage and commitment to stand. We recognize that we must not only say ‘Black Lives Matter’, we must also say, ‘Black Lives are Sacred’ and we stand with all who raise their voices to speak truth to power.

“… in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?… It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.” – Dr. Martin Luther King

We call for solidarity with Black communities across Turtle Island and demand that political leaders find the personal resolve to take direct action to bring justice and peace to our communities and to acknowledge that White Supremacy is an imminent threat to our lives. 

“We are way more powerful when we turn to each other and not on each other, when we celebrate our diversity… and together tear down the mighty walls of injustice.” – Cynthia McKinney

In solidarity,

ShoShona Kish (Anishinaabe), Executive Director, International Indigenous Music Summit, Artist, Digging Roots
Amanda Rheaume (Anishinaabe/Métis), Operations Director, International Indigenous Music Summit; Artist
Raven Kanatakata (Anishinaabe/ Onkwehonwe), International Indigenous Music Summit, Artist, Digging Roots
Sergio Elmir (Settler/ Ally), Coordinator, International Indigenous Music Summit, Program Manager, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance
Kevin Loring (N’lakapamux), Artistic Director, Indigenous Theatre Department, National Arts Centre of Canada; Artistic Director, Savage Production Society
Jesse Wente (Anishinaabe), Executive Director, The Indigenous Screen Office
Jennifer Podemski (Anishinaabe – Muscowpetung First Nation), Writer, Producer, Director President Redcloud Studios Inc.
Sarain Fox (Anishinaabe), Artist, Activist, Producer, President, Land Back Studios
Curtis Running Rabbit-Lefhand, Executive Artistic Director, Indigenous Resilience in Music
Cynthia Lickers-Sage (Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River), Executive Director, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance
Sage Paul (Denesuline), Artistic Director, Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto
Reneltta Arluk (Inuvialuit, Dene, Cree), Artistic Director, Akpik Theatre; Director, Indigenous Arts, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Denise Bolduc (Ojibwe-Anishinaabe), Performing Arts Curator / Creative Producer
Camille Georgeson-Usher (Coast Salish/Sahtu/Dene/Scottish), Executive Director, Aboriginal Curatorial Collective / Collectif des commissaires autochtones
Margo Kane (Cree-Saulteaux Métis), Artistic Managing Director, Full Circle: First Nations Performance
Santee Smith (Kahnyen’kehàka), Managing Artistic Director, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre
Millie Knapp (Anishinabe), Executive Director, Association for Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts (ANDPVA)
Naomi Johnson (Kanien’kehá:ka/ Mohawk), Executive Director, imagineNATIVE
Renee Abram (Oneida), Manager, Kegedonce Press Indigenous Publishing Company based on Neyaashiiniming
Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais (Cree/ Gitxsan), Coordinator, Indigenous Music Development Program
Jade Harper (Ojibwe/ Cree, Treaty 1), Coordinator, Indigenous Music West Program
Keith Barker (Métis), Artistic Director, Native Earth Performing Arts
Penny Couchie (Ojibwe/ Mohawk), Co-Artistic Director, Sid Bobb (Sto:lo/Coast Salish), Co Artistic Director, Aanmitaagzi
Marilyn Jensen (Yadułtin/ Inland Tlingit), President, on behalf of the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Board of Directors and Team
Charlene Alexander, Executive Director, Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association
Nadine St-Louis (mi’kmaq/acadienne/écossaise), Fondatrice des Productions Feux Sacrés, organisme culturel et artistique autochtone
Colin Wolf, (Métis), Artistic Director, Gwaandak Theatre
Michelle Olson, (Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in), Artistic Director, Raven Spirit Dance
Rose Stella (Tarahumara), Artistic Director/Principal, Centre for Indigenous Theatre
Yvonne Chartrand (Métis), Artistic Director, V’ni Dansi
Robert Thomson (Haida), Artistic Producer, Múyuntsut ta Slúlum Live Series, Full Circle
Jennifer Dawn Bishop (Métis), Artistic Director, Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre
Corey Payette (Oji-Cree), Artistic Director, Urban Ink; Artistic Director, Raven Theatre
Bruce Naokwegijig (Pottawatami/ Anishnabe), Artistic Director, Debajehmujig Storytellers
Rhéanne Chartrand (Métis), Curator of Indigenous Art, McMaster Museum of Art; Curator,Indigenous Arts Festival 2020
Selena Mills (Cree/ Mixed Settler), Lead, Health Transformation & Strategic Communications: The Centre For Wise Practices in Indigenous Health, Women’s College Hospital
Dave Jenness, (Wolastoqiyik) Artistic Director, Ondinnok Productions
Leela Gilday (Dene Nation), Artist/Owner, Diva Sound Records
Andy Moro (Euro/ Cree), Artistic Co-Director, Article 11, Indigenous Activist Arts
Tara Beagan (Ntlaka’pamux/ Irish Canadian), Artistic Co-Director, Article 11, Indigenous Activist Arts
Alan Greyeyes (Anishinabe), Festival Director, sākihiwē festival
Click here to raise your voice in solidarity by adding your name.