January 1, 2024

Indigenous Perspectives of Governance

In a world that constantly evolves, organizations must adapt and grow to stay relevant and meaningful, however we ask ourselves at what cost and to whom? In September 2023, Postmarginal embarked on a three-month period of organizational transformation. The focus? To rekindle our vision and values while decentralizing the organizational structure. To help build our relationship to Indigenous artists and thinkers, the collective approached Indigenous knowledge to understand more about Indigenous relationality and governance.  This three-month period represented an opportunity for Postmarginal to weave together different approaches of governance to create a more inclusive, ecological and compassionate future.

Nature Inspires Content

Part of the journey took place at the Kina8at Indigenous Centre (pronounced “Kinawat”), meaning “together” in the Algonquin language. Kina8at served as the perfect backdrop for this transformation, as a cultural healing centre created for “reconciliation, healing and rapprochement between peoples”, and felt apt for the work Postmarginal strives to explore. In November 2023, eight artists and cultural workers from Montreal, Edmonton and St. John’s came together at the Centre to be inspired by the nature, to forge relationships, and explore approaches to leadership. 

Postmarginal Kina8at Retreat Podcast by Dennis Kastrup (in English).

Lire la transcription en français ou en anglais.

One of the questions that was asked was how to create a structure for Postmarginal that can prioritize all living beings, recognize the importance of those who came before and will come after. Departing from a number of core beliefs that were informed by Postmarginal’s history and shaped by a series of interviews with Indigenous scholars and cultural leaders, the participants reflected on the definition of Postmarginal, as well as its values and the actions it should lead in the future. 

Simplicity and Gentleness

Simplicity and gentleness, words offered to the group by Kina8at’s elders, are key themes of this transformation. The group was humbled to listen to teachings that have long existed, and that continue to resonate today in the power of mutual understanding and compassion. 

The period of introspection prompts artists and organizers to ask important questions. How can the project move forward with a complete vision of who the project serves, including the non-human world? What are the beliefs that uphold Postmarginal and how do we understand what the project is after seven years of existence? What structures will permit the project to flourish while allowing it to maintain its values over distance and time?  How can we ensure that our creative endeavours coexist harmoniously with the natural world? How can Indigenous governance systems and relationality inform our project with more lateral approaches to leadership and community building? 

By asking these questions, Postmarginal is taking a vital step towards consolidating its energies into a longer-term organization. It’s an acknowledgment that change is necessary, that we can challenge our current structures to acknowledge the existence of other forms of governance. 

Next steps… sharing knowledge

The consulting participants include Hengameh Kharaghani, Soni Dasmohapatra, Dennis Kastrup, Audrey-Anne Bouchard, Peter Farbridge, Anne-Laure Mathieu, Santiago Guzmán, Eric Rice and Catherine Dagenais-Savard. The work was supported by a number of consultations with social innovation organizations, Indigenous scholars and creators. Together, they are working towards a new governance approach for Postmarginal that will be sustainable, caring, supportive and respectful of the future of the planet.

This period of transformation is a testament to the Postmarginal’s dedication to positive change. It’s a journey that celebrates unity, diversity, and our interconnectedness with the Earth. We would like to thank the following funders, partners, and artists who have made this possible:

  • Kina8at Indigenous Cultural Centre (host)
  • Canada Arts Council (funder)
  • Anne-Laure Mathieu (participant-facilitator from Tiohtià:ke/Montreal)
  • Peter Farbridge (participant from Tiohtià:ke/Montreal)
  • Dr. Paul Gareau (consultant from Edmonton/amiskwaciwâskahikan)
  • Floyd Favel (consultant from Poundmaker Community)
  • Marie-Joelle Tremblay (consultant from Tiohtià:ke/Montreal)
  • Catherine Daganais-Savard (participant from Wendake)
  • Santiago Guzmán (participant from Newfoundland/Ktaqmkuk)
  • Eric Rice (participant from Edmonton/amiskwaciwâskahikan)
  • Hengameh Kharaghani (participant from Edmonton/amiskwaciwâskahikan)
  • Soni Dasmohapatra (participant from Edmonton/amiskwaciwâskahikan)
  • Dennis Kastrup (participant from Tiohtià:ke/Montreal)
  • Gabrielle Van Durme (consultant from Solon Collectif, Tiohtià:ke/Montreal)
  • William Jacomo-Beauchemin (consultant from Exeko, Tiohtià:ke/Montreal)

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