Nothing About Us Without Us
First Nations Theater Theater Guild is an organization for First Nations people by First Nations people in the arts.
Since February 2018 a small robust group of Native/Indigenous/First Nations artists’ have meet for once a month around the city of New York to find community of other Native/Indigenous/First Nations artists’ landing at American Indian House to utilize space to meet. In these initial conversations we came together to socialize, to have protocol, talk story, and gathered around what we were working on. Through a guided conversations we were able to establish community agreements (on going and subject to change) and spoke about the intentionalities of the group. In this conversation we were able to discuss subjects like protocol, blood quantum, tokenization, and the appropriation of Native culture in the theater/art world. Now, from the four meetings we have established a database and worked on actionable items such as a letter to the field about appropriation versus appreciation, indigenizing spaces verses decolonization. This group is aopen to allies with placing First Nations people’s art and voices first.
First Nations Theater Guild is virtual to the thriving and growing community across the nation both culturally and artistically. We believe that creating and sharing our stories will inspire self-awareness and a sense of responsibility to sustain the cultural fabric of a community at large.
We believe that Theater/art moves each of us to make a difference, to pass on ancestral knowledge and to simply extend a hand of generosity.
The First Nations Theater Guild is needed to provide tools, resources and a voice to First Nations/Indigenous artists who share their inspiration, wisdom, knowledge and gifts with their communities....
* Zaagi'idiwin—Love: To know peace is to know Love. Love must be unconditional. When people are weak they need love the most. This word with the reciprocal theme /idi/ indicates that this form of love is mutual.
* Nibwaakaawin—Wisdom: To cherish knowledge is to know Wisdom. Wisdom is given by the Creator to be used for the good of the people.
* Minaadendamowin—Respect: To honor all creation is to have Respect. All of creation should be treated with respect. You must give respect if you wish to be respected.
* Aakode'ewin—Bravery: Bravery is to face the foe with integrity. In the Anishinaabe language, this word literally means "state of having a fearless heart." To do what is right even when the consequences are unpleasant.
* Gwayakwaadiziwin—Honesty: Honesty in facing a situation is to be brave. Always be honest in word and action. Be honest first with yourself, and you will more easily be able to be honest with others.
* Dabaadendiziwin—Humility: Humility is to know yourself as a sacred part of Creation. In the Anishinaabe language, this word can also mean "compassion." You are equal to others, but you are not better. Or/ Bekaadiziwin, which in addition to "humility" can also be translated as "patience."
* Debwewin—Truth: Truth is to know all of these things. Speak the truth. Do not deceive yourself or others.
First Nations Theater Guild of NYC is dedicated to Onkwehonwe/ First Nations people of Turtle Island.
First Nations Theater Guild will provide safer spaces in theater, art and film through affirmative action;
We will harvest decolonial framework through compacts and guidelines with Institutions, theaters, museums, and galleries;
Create compacts and declarations to acknowledge and contribute equitable time and space for First Nations artists’:
Create a network and cohorts of support;
We will plant seeds of promise and covenant among First Nations people, artists, organizations and communities to not only work together, but to grow together.
Through reclamation and changemaking our members will also receive sustainable support provided by the guild to do and create meaningful work. By offering subsidized space, and housing we will create a place for First Nations artists’ to regenerate our space in time within our naturally seeded territory. Our goal is to not only revitalize our existence, but to grow from a place of resistance and move towards truth, acknowledgement, and reconnection.