Out On Screen acknowledges that we have existed on the unceded traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh First Nations since 1988. Out On Screen recognizes the governance authority of these Nations for their shared territories and seeks to abide by their time-honoured protocols.

Being predominantly settlers and immigrants to this land from many diverse backgrounds, we recognize that we have much to learn, as well as an ongoing responsibility to share our collective histories and contribute to changing the oppression perpetuated by colonialism, even today. Reconciling past injustice, and strengthening shared understanding and awareness of history, is vital to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. We believe in the value of truth telling and working toward good relationships so we can be a queer arts organization that celebrates, illuminates and advances the lives of all queer people, including queer, trans and two-spirit Indigenous people.

Two-spirit people encompass the myriad of gender and sexual identities prevalent in Indigenous societies. They were once respected as fundamental and valued members of many Indigenous cultures and societies. In the wake of colonization in North America, two-spirit people and their traditional roles have often been erased, diminished, and displaced. We believe in contributing to a society where two-spirit people are honoured, respected and celebrated for their traditional and contemporary roles, which are supported by wider society.

As a queer non-profit organization whose strategic shared vision includes the values of intersectionality, anti-oppression, social justice, respect, and equitable inclusivity, Out On Screen is committed to meaningfully participating in reconciliation, decolonization, and being in right relations with two-spirit and Indigenous people of this land. We believe in contributing to a process that forges and maintains respectful relationships and makes space for the centering of Indigenous communities, knowledge, legal systems, and ways of being.

We realize this is a journey, not a destination; and it will be a journey defined and judged by our actions, not simply our words. We invite others to join us, support us and hold us accountable. We are as strong as our community.

 

Steps in our Journey

To be explicit with our community, some of the concrete steps we will take in 2017 include:

  • Continuing education for staff and board. Topics to explore: Colonization and impacts of land dispossession, colonial systems, and disruption to family, community, gender identities, and sexualities; Indigenous perspectives on sexuality and gender; working with local Nations; anti-oppression; Indigenous ways of queering art.
  • Review and revise a new 2017 workplan for our organization and our people as it relates to our relationship with local Indigenous communities and our role in decolonization, Indigenous rights, and reconciliation. Review and report out annually.
  • Seek further Indigenous and/or two-spirit representation from local communities at our staff and board of directors level with the intention of creating a board and staff that better reflects the communities it wishes to serve.
  • Be in compliance with Indigenous law by establishing relations with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh First Nations and seek to know and follow their protocols for being, working, and living on their territories.
  • Be involved with and supportive of local Indigenous communities’ activities, activism, events, and issues.
  • Recognize territory holders and impacts of colonization including disrupted relationships, land dispossession, and Out On Screen’s responsibilities in this regard at internal and public events including Festival screenings, on our website, in our electronic communications, and printed materials.
  • Ensure Two-Spirit and/or Indigenous stories are centered at the Festival
  • Build relationships and center Indigenous culture and ways of knowing by seeking out community partnerships with Indigenous organizations for our film festival.
  • Recognize local territory holders at all Out in Schools presentations.
  • Outreach in advance to all territory holders and the legacies of colonization including disrupted relationships, land dispossession, and Out On Screen’s responsibilities in this regard that Out in Schools plans to visit.
  • Make Out in Schools known to Indigenous communities and organizations
  • Reviewing and updating our Out in Schools workshops to more accurately and comprehensively center Indigenous queer and two-spirit people.
  • Create an Out in Schools presentation centering Indigenous perspectives on sexuality and gender.