Let us begin by saying that this land acknowledgement is a work in progress; a step towards becoming better as an organization. PACT’s staff is made up currently of eight team members, working primarily in Tkaron:to (colonially known as Toronto), which is and has always been a gathering place for people from various nations, specifically the Anishinabek, Wendat, Haudenosaunee and the Mississaugas of the Credit.
However, PACT is a national organization that serves theatre companies, of various sizes, across various nations of this land colonially called Canada. Thus, our work as a national organization must consider the diverse perspectives that continue to inform how we operate and serve our members.
PACT recognizes white supremacy’s effects on our work and the ways in which we perpetuate and internalize white supremacist practices - particularly in how we inhabit Indigenous lands. While our current work relies on virtual meeting points and platforms, this infrastructure has been built through the extraction of resources from traditional territories.
As a sector, we rely heavily on government funders and colonial practices that contribute to assimilation, capitalism and a particular euro-centrism that must be named. As settlers and/or immigrants, we have studied and worked in institutions that are deeply rooted in colonialism, white supremacy and patriarchy.
Though each individual member of our organization has their own history with this land and with the violence of colonialism, we all recognize the long history of Indigenous presence and continued relationship with this land. Some of us are settlers while others are - or are the descendants of - forcibly displaced peoples. Nonetheless, we are committed to the pursuit of decolonization, unlearning and challenging these systems of oppression. We aim to incorporate a more critical approach to the Canadian theatre industry, its leadership practices, creation methods and ways of operating.
PACT actively works to provide services and support that challenge these systems of oppression, while providing support through advocacy, labour relations, communications and programming. Throughout Canada’s history and to this day, services like these inflict or have inflicted massive amounts of harm to Indigenous communities. Those in power in Canada, predominantly white folk, have used institutions to carry out horrific activities like the theft and devastation of land, the separation of Indigenous families, forced sterilization of Indigenous women, murder, erasure and forced assimilation.
Those wrongs continue; protective services around youth replaced residential schools and the 60s Scoop, Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit folk continue to be murdered or disappear, the construction of oil pipelines across important territories, youth suicides in Indigenous communities are at an all-time high, the erasure or appropriation of Indigenous cultures and customs reflecting in staged productions by our member companies. These are the direct results of government policy and ways of thinking, which have intentionally harmed Indigenous communities through forced displacement, withholding of resources or for lack of a better phrasing, “cultural genocide”.
The work that PACT does should feel comfortable and accessible for everyone, regardless of one’s status in this country, but we understand that as an institution led by non-Indigenous people, our organization cannot always guarantee this safety because we are part of a system complicit in violence.
PACT continues to work in and with community to ensure that we are constantly evolving our practices to de-colonize and find new models of working that do not inflict harm on each other. If we work in collaboration with institutions that do not share our values and goals, we hope that in doing so, we can spread and advocate our politics and critical approach to Canadian theatre.