*Trigger Warning: acknowledgement of death, residential schools*
The Board and Staff of Access Gallery wishes to state our support for Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, and our solidarity with those demanding justice for the lives lost, autonomy taken, and cultural survivance disrupted as a result of colonial violence, specifically the legacy of residential schools and day schools.
As the remains of children continue to be confirmed across the nation in unmarked graves, we witness the grief and re-traumatization of communities from Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Nation, Cowessess First Nation, Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation, George Gordon First Nation, Muskowekwan First Nation, Ktunaxa Nation, and Penelekut Tribe. We understand that knowledge of these deaths has been shared, held, and endured for generations by all Indigenous communities across so-called "Canada". We hold in our hearts all nations, tribes, and peoples who have been affected by this violence.
Access is a cultural organization dedicated to supporting emergent practices, and we see our mandate as an opportunity to amplify diverse arts and culture. It is our responsibility to address any historic lack of access in our programming and organization, and support Indigenous artists and artistic practices.
We recognize our platform as a space to amplify the voices of Indigenous artists, leaders, and community members at this time, and always. As we have begun to process how we can be supportive we have identified that Access has historically lacked creating comprehensive commitments and goals with regard to Indigenous sovereignty, justice, and equity. We commit to continuing learning about the experience of those whose stolen lands we operate from, to address past and ongoing inequities in access to professional and artistic opportunities, and make meaningful changes to our policies and operations in order to provide robust support that celebrates Indigenous communities.
Located at the intersection of Chinatown, the former site of Hogan’s Alley, and the Downtown Eastside, we are witnesses to the effects of colonialism and white supremacy—generational trauma, addiction, poverty, racist urban planning, gentrification, etc. We urge our members to donate and offer their ongoing support to the following local organizations to ensure that they are well resourced to support the communities they serve:
Indian Residential School Survivors Society
Local friendship centres, such as the Kamloops Friendship Centre
Urban Native Youth Association
If you are a survivor suffering re-traumatization please call for support from the 24-hour Indian Residential School Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (1-800-721-0066).
If you are an Indigenous person struggling with suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm call the 24-hour Hope for Wellness toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to their 24-hour online chat at hopeforwellness.ca.
With gratitude as guests, Access is located on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Access additionally recognizes its location in Vancouver’s Chinatown, an area for the gathering of predominantly Cantonese-speaking Chinese labourers, settlers, and businesses since the nineteenth century. Our gallery borders the site of Hogan’s Alley, an important home to Vancouver’s Black population until their forced displacement through the construction of the Georgia viaduct fifty years ago.