The future of storytelling in Canada is acknowledging that the stories of this land are older than Canada.
To truly reconcile Canada’s relationship with the Indigenous Peoples of this land, we need to shift the Indigenous perspective to the centre of our national identity. We need to begin to frame our understanding of Canada as a nation by its relationship to the First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. That relationship has been fundamentally damaged over the short history of Canada. We as cultural leaders have an opportunity and an obligation to help right that relationship. Government will never be able to do this important work simply by legislating change. Change has to come from the people and organizations that make up this country. As cultural leaders we can begin that change by incorporating Indigenous artists and art into our seasons, Indigenous personnel into our companies and the Indigenous perspective into our view.
Part of the nation-building project that Canada has been engaged in for the past 50 years has been to support and nurture the new Canadian play creation paradigm, to build and support regional network of theatres and to foster and support the vibrant theatre and arts sectors that we enjoy today. It is only recently with the creation of the Indigenous Theatre at the National Arts Centre and the Indigenous Section at the Canada Council that Indigenous Artists are getting an equitable opportunity to share our stories. The next step is to develop our audience. Opening up opportunities to Indigenous Artists means opening your theatre to Indigenous Audiences. Many of whom may not feel that your theatre is for them. And that is a shame.
This is an exciting time to be able to support the development of a National Indigenous Theatre Sector. Your support as this nation’s cultural leaders is vital to the success of this project.
– Kevin Loring