Jun 2021

Nextfest Land Acknowledgment Amendment

Announcements   /  


Nextfest is a celebration of emerging arts and artists, but before we can celebrate we would like to acknowledge the tragic events happening here in Canada.  If you feel that this acknowledgment will cause you distress, please consider clicking away or skipping to the resources below.

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Why Are We Amending our Land Acknowledgment?

We have created an important addition to our existing land acknowledgment that was Nextfest team built in collaboration with Naheyawin in 2019. Due to the recent discovery of 215 children buried at Kamloops British Columbia Residential School, we have taken on educating ourselves and incorporating our learnings into the outspoken values of Nextfest Arts Company.

But, this is more than organizational policy, this is change. This is a call to action. This is not a dark past as the effects of residential schools and the circumstances leading up to them are still taking place right now.

In this post, there are three crucial pieces:

  1. Our original land acknowledgment
  2. The 2021 amendment
  3. Important resources for settlers & organizations

Since we are settlers on this land, we have been working with indigenous consultants to ensure that we are serving the community and following through on our words. We encourage you to read through our statement and the resources listed.


Nextfest marks the beginning of a long creative journey for a huge array of artists. For more than twenty years, we have fostered the growth and learning of thousands of artists who continue to practice and create on Treaty 6 land. We embody the spirit of newness and growth while respecting the deep roots planted by those who came before us. We are a platform for emerging artists, a meeting ground for community, a springboard for creative invention. Mentorship, inclusion, learning, creative risk, and vulnerability are at the core of everything we stand for.

And so, we embrace the spirit of Tatawaw: a Cree phrase meaning “welcome, there is room.”

The Nextfest Arts Company acknowledges that we are situated on Treaty 6 territory, the home of the Nations of Cree, Nakota-Sioux, Blackfoot, Dene, Tsuu T’ina, Metis and other Indigenous peoples who call this land home, who have created and gathered on these lands for thousands of years.

At Nextfest, everyone is welcome exactly as they are. Our circle continues to grow and evolve with our artists as they grow and evolve, too. We are still learning, and promise to continue learning from past and future generations of artists who make Nextfest possible.

We recognize and value that we are at the end and the beginning of a long line of artists, creators, and people living on and benefiting from this land. Nextfest takes responsibility for this ongoing relationship as we strive to listen, learn, and continually do better as an organization and community.

We are committed to creating new beginnings, supporting revival, and providing community for everyone, as we are all Treaty People.

Residential Schools Amendment

The remains of 215 Indigenous children killed in a Kamloops British Columbia Residential School were found on May 27, 2021. Additionally, a potential 104 graves were discovered by the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation at Brandon Indian Residential School on June 10th, 2021.

Residential schools are not just the past being unearthed, but their effects are also a present reality that we must face together. 

As settlers, we acknowledge that we benefit from colonialism and colonization, an unfair system that generations of Indigenous peoples continue to feel the effects of trauma from. The Nextfest Arts Company condemns systemic racism in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and the world

Nextfest is rooted in the values of our treaty acknowledgment as we operate, create, and gather on Treaty 6 territory. We have a responsibility to do the work by seeking out new opportunities to learn, growing internally and externally, and sharing resources with others. Nextfest advocates for and stands in solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island, now colonially known as Canada. 

We encourage you to support the Indigenous artists during this time of mourning and beyond. We must take action and the programming of this festival reflects this action. During Nextfest 2021, we have offered a Workshop on Decolonizing The Arts; Treaty Relations, Inclusivity, and Guidance, we have a number of artist check-ins including one that is IBPOC only, and every night of the festival we are streaming projects which are led, created by, and/or featuring Indigenous artists and stories. These actions are just the beginning of our journey into creating change in our organization and community. 

 If you would like to know more, please feel free to reach out to us at hello@nextfest.ca.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to sit in reflection. Please join me for a moment of silence to mourn the loss of these 215 children. 

We mourn with you, every child matters. Thank you.


The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) can be contacted toll-free: 1-800-721-0066.

Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419

Truth and Reconciliation Commission: http://www.trc.ca/

SPECIAL REPORT Calls to Action Accountability: A 2020 Status Update on Reconciliation (Yellowhead Institute, Ryerson University): https://yellowheadinstitute.org/trc/

Legacy of Hope Foundation: https://legacyofhope.ca/home/about-us/

On Canada Project: https://oncanadaproject.ca/ and www.OnCanadaProject.ca/SettlersTakeAction

Native Land Digital: www.native-land.ca


Thank you for reading, growing, and learning with us.

Keep the conversation going – sign up for our IBPOC Nextfest Community Check-In: https://nextfest.ca/community-check-in/

Have questions? Concerns? Feedback? Please reach out to hello@nextfest.ca.


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