imagineNATIVE Statement: Indigenous Identity and Cultural Claim

imagineNATIVE acknowledges recent important issues raised regarding Indigenous identity and cultural claim in the Indigenous film and arts community. We echo and support the statement released on Friday, December 18, 2020, by the Indigenous Screen Office.

imagineNATIVE is an Indigenous-led organization, one that has been afforded funds to create opportunities and showcase, promote, and celebrate Indigenous filmmakers and media artists within Canada and internationally. It is a privilege that carries great responsibility that considers the diverse Indigenous communities and experiences of the many individuals who apply to our Festival and programs.

As an organization committed to Indigenous sovereignty in film and media arts, we continue to develop our policies and practices in consultation with communities to uphold this value.

We recognize that many people who identify with Indigenous nations and communities have been disconnected from their communities and cultural ties due to the impacts of colonial assimilationist practices and policies. In the spirit of caring and understanding, we support those individuals who are doing the work of reclaiming and being claimed. However, Indigeneity needs to be affirmed by the community before accessing opportunities and resources meant to mitigate colonial impacts experienced by Indigenous peoples and communities. 

Misrepresentation of Indigeneity impacts the significant progress and trailblazing work done over decades by Indigenous peers and allies. We welcome difficult, respectful conversations that hold us accountable and protect Indigenous narrative sovereignty.

We stand behind the declaration made on October 2011 for Indigenous Cinema, which states:

We will
Hold and manage Indigenous cultural and intellectual property.
Ensure our continued recognition as primary guardians and interpreters of our culture.

– Indigenous Film Conference, Guovdageaidnu, Sápmi

We will continue to ensure that we walk forward in a good way amidst the many challenges we face, firm in our commitment to Indigenous sovereignty.

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We at imagineNATIVE acknowledge that this land located on present-day Tkaronto (Toronto) is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, the Huron-Wendat, and the Mississaugas of the Credit.

We acknowledge the Dish With One Spoon covenant, a treaty whose spirit is one based in collective stewardship and reciprocity. We take the spirit of this covenant to the core of our operations as we bring artists and audiences from many nations across the globe together through our various initiatives and activities.

Please take a moment to think of the land you currently reside upon, wherever you may be, and  acknowledge those who went before and those yet to come.