Gallery TPW acknowledges that we live, work and create on stolen land. We occupy the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat, who are the original custodians of this land. Tkaronto is part of Treaty 13 and the Dish With One Spoon covenant, which reminds us that we all share the same bowl and spoon, therefore we must take only what we need to allow for continued abundance and future viability.[1]

 

Jas M. Morgan’s August 2020 report entitled A Culture of Exploitation: “Reconciliation” and the Institutions of Canadian Art [2] reminds us that Canadian art industries are implicated in colonial violence, and that we have a history of erasure and exploitation of Indigenous cultural workers. Gallery TPW is committed to reconciliation, inclusivity, social justice and reciprocity in the physical and virtual spaces that we occupy. We are actively working towards best practices, where long-term relationships are met with mentorship, support and care.

 

We have also been thinking about the inequitable distribution of resources across so-called Canada, both within the arts and far beyond it. The Canadian government committed to eliminating all long-term drinking water advisories on Indigenous reserves by March 2021. However, there are still over 58 long-term drinking water advisories currently in place on Indigenous reserves in Canada. Many of these have been in effect for over a decade, and a vast majority of them are in Ontario.[3] Two of these communities include the Mississaugas of the Scugog Island First Nation and the Chippewa of Georgina Island, both are less than a two hour drive from Gallery TPW.  It is reprehensible that in 2021 as one of the wealthiest countries that controls about 20% of the world’s freshwater supply, Indigenous people in Canada are left without access to clean and safe water in their homes, because the government and big business actively disregard the communities recognized in Canada’s constitution and in historic and contemporary Treaties.[4]

 

Gallery TPW acknowledges the sovereignty of First Nations peoples and supports the 1492 Land Back Lane Land Defenders, and their allies, who are fighting to reclaim unceded Haudenosaunee land while also resisting acts of violence by the Ontario Provincial Police. In our solidarity letter,[5]  we urge Canadian officials, at all levels, to recognize the 1784 Haldimand Proclamation and the Six Nations Confederacy’s rights and entitlements over this land. As a public art institution who represents hundreds of stakeholders across the province and that sits on traditional Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Wendat territories, we denounce the unjust process of land development that has occurred within the Haldimand Tract. 

 

Acknowledging the land is an important first step towards unlearning our complicity in settler colonization. However, much more needs to be done by settlers, by our government, and by us as arts practitioners to educate ourselves and others, and to endeavor to end ongoing colonial violence. 

 

The staff of Gallery TPW are working together to better understand and acknowledge our implication in settler-imperial violence through reading groups and discussions. We are asking ourselves: how can this learning be applied to our programming and structure as an artist-run-centre? Below is a list of essays we have read and discussed that we would like to share with our community. We will be updating this acknowledgement to reflect our thinking, reading, and current conditions. 

 

–Gallery TPW staff, April 21, 2021

 

Questions and comments are welcome: info (@) gallerytpw.ca


 

Readings

 

A Culture of Exploitation: “Reconciliation” and the Institutions of Canadian Art 

by Jas M. Morgan (formerly Lindsay Nixon)

 

Decolonization Is Not A Metaphor

By Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang

 

Arts Funding, The State And Canadian Nation Making

Andrea Fatona 

--

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dish_With_One_Spoon, accessed February 6, 2021

[2] https://yellowheadinstitute.org/a-culture-of-exploitation-reconciliation-and-the-institutions-of-canadian-art/, accessed February 6, 2021

[3] https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1506514143353/1533317130660, accessed February 6, 2021

[4] https://www.amnesty.ca/our-work/issues/indigenous-peoples/indigenous-peoples-in-canada, accessed February 6, 2021

[5] Reference to: TPW - Solidarity Letter with 1492 Land Back Lane Land Defenders