National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
On this, the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we honour the survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. While past harms can never be undone, it is important to ensure the pain caused by both past and ongoing colonial actions are fully acknowledged. Public discourse and education are essential to contributing to reconciliation for there can be no reconciliation without first acknowledging the truth.
COMMITMENT TO RECONCILIATION
Persephone Theatre believes the performing arts have an essential part to play in the work of reconciliation. We believe our work as a theatre organization can and should consider how it can contribute. Persephone Theatre offers this as an aspirational statement to communicate our dedication to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in our community, Canada, and throughout Turtle Island.
Persephone Theatre creates theatre in Misâskwatôminihk, meaning “at the Saskatoon berry” in Nêhiyawewin, which is colonially known as Saskatoon. We acknowledge and renew our obligations to the Indigenous peoples who have lived on and cared for these lands since time immemorial, including the Nêhiyawak, Nêhithawak, Anishinabek, Nakawe, Nakota, Nehinawak, Lakota, Dakota and Dene peoples. These lands are also the homeland of the Metis Nation. We also acknowledge the contributions of the Whitecap Dakota and Round Prairie Métis peoples in establishing our city of Saskatoon. Persephone Theatre is located on Treaty 6 territory and we are committed to living in good relations with our Indigenous neighbours, in the spirit with which the Treaties were intended. We extend this same commitment to all Indigenous peoples throughout Canada.
Persephone Theatre exists to enrich society by providing a supportive venue for artists and audiences to create and experience theatre to inspire and reflect our community. It is a place to encourage dialogue, curiosity, empathy, and respect. These values inform the actions we can and will take to further reconciliation:
To create artistic programming and processes which:
- aid in understanding our colonial past and visioning a new future;
- celebrate Indigenous culture, history, and joy;
- foster dialogue in our community;
- honour the artistic sovereignty of Indigenous artists;
- support the creation of projects funded by the Creating, Knowing, and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples program developed by the Canada Council for the Arts in response to Call to Action 83 issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
To provide arts education which:
- creates access to inclusive learning and training experiences that supports Indigenous approaches to storytelling and theatre creation;
- examines the intersection between Indigenous culture and storytelling with Western theatre techniques;
- considers and overcomes social, economic, geographic, and cultural barriers so arts education can be for all young people.
To ensure Persephone Theatre:
- builds meaningful and respectful relationships with Indigenous theatre artists, technicians, administrators, educators, and audiences;
- uses, where appropriate, Indigenous and Metis languages to describe Nations, languages, and place names for our region as a way of honoring our relationships;
- uses its means as a well-resourced organization to uplift the work of Indigenous artists and theatre makers, as well as provide mentorship and support in our community;
- provides ongoing education opportunities of those employed by Persephone on colonial history, systemic injustice, and anti-oppression practices.
As an organization, Persephone Theatre recognizes our past actions have not always been in alignment with these stated aspirations and intentions. The organization has been complicit in contributing to a history of oppression, exclusion, and anti-Indigenous racism in our own work and in our industry. We are committed to our ongoing growth and learning in pursuit of equity and justice and furthering the broader call for action in Canadian theatre. We support the emergence of truth and shall actively contribute to shifting perspectives with the work we do in and with our community moving forward.
Reconciliation is a shared endeavour; it cannot be accomplished in isolation.
We encourage community dialogue on this topic as we collectively work toward reconciliation.
We invite you to share your thoughts on how Persephone Theatre can contribute further.
Created September 2021. Last amended September 2023.