About the Give-Away
Following discussions with our team and community, we have determined the best and safest course of action is to host our annual Fall Festival online. Although we are disappointed we won’t be hosting a physical gathering, we are moving forward with enthusiasm and excitement that the online imagineNATIVE Festival from October 20 to 25, 2020 will prove to open up new possibilities and partnerships. Specifically, we have decided to ground the Festival in a cultural model guided by the Oji-Cree practice of a “Give-Away”.
A Give-Away is not exclusive to one Nation, but rather has many iterations throughout our communities. This is a celebration used to commemorate changing seasons, naming ceremonies and other significant events. Through Give-Away, families gather, feast and give away possession and gifts as a means of sharing wealth and uniting as a community. It is a gesture to thank the people who have come to be our supporters both in the present and who have come before. Working with our team and key partners, we’re working to pivot internally to a Give-Away model for this year’s Festival. Activating this community-based practice as a curatorial methodology will take into account the scope and needs of our artists and community following Indigenous cultural values of generosity and reciprocity. This decision was born from a desire to explore something unique and culturally relevant to us and to avoid the pitfalls of a strict “digital translation” of imagineNATIVE’s Festival.
We are in a privileged position. Through our Give-Away Festival, we can use our platform to provide our artists with increased fees, higher cash prizes and gifts from Indigenous-owned companies and local Indigenous artisans. We will offer daily Give-Aways for our audiences consisting of gift cards, Indigenous-made apparel, hygienic items like soap, shampoo and lotion, traditional (shelf-stable) foods, as well as cultural items.
During a typical Festival year, we would honour our audience and artists with Feasts, gifting and other acts of ceremony and sovereignty. Central to the success of the Give-Away Festival is collaborating with our community ensuring representation from many Nations, and sharing our wealth widely. We want to emphasize that supporting grass-roots, authentically Indigenous artisans and companies is our highest priority.