Native Immigrant (NI) is a community arts approach to bridging Native peoples and Immigrants through a variety of cultural events.

Hope, 2012

HISTORY

The first Native-Immigrant event, in the winter of 2013, was taking shape just as a new chapter in Quebec politics was also unfolding—the Charter of Values, an attempt by the provincial government to make us all “embrace” local values. Sadly, these values did not take into account the real make-up of today’s Quebec, a place where many cultures live together, in peace. The notion of “Quebecois de Souche,” original Quebecer, makes no sense: Quebec’s roots are French; the only “souche” here, once again, are Native peoples, who, like immigrants, were being excluded from the discussion. So, Carolina Echeverría (artistic director and founder) decided to translate Native-Immigrant into French as “Immigrant de Souche,” re-rooted immigrant, the one who is mindful of this land, who wants to connect to it. Once again, her intention was—is—to unify, and to put a stop to discriminatory practices and policies that define some as “in,” leaving others on the margins, detractors and outsiders.

In 2016 after 5 events were completed, the collective of Native-Immigrant came to be; a diverse group of individuals that believes that culture should be something alive and organic. The main activity of Native-Immigrant is the construction of dresses. Each dress collects objects that tell the story of who we really are.

Native-Immigrant is housed permanently at Métèque Gallery in NDG, Montreal, since March 30th, 2017 (5442 Côte Saint Luc Road).

We invite you to call yourself a Native-Immigrant, or to join the next Native-Immigrant project, offering everyone the time and space to create, reflect and to bridge Last Nations (as in those who just arrive) with First Nations. Together, we can learn, simply and profoundly, how to make a difference, how to change the conversation—how to truly love the land that sustains us.


Photo: Philip Faith

ABOUT CAROLINA (Artistic director and founder of Native-Immigrant)

I am an immigrant to Quebec, a place that has yet to embrace the profound gifts of either First Nations or immigrants (“les ethniques” as we’ve been called). From the start, I wanted to take part in the collective conversation. I wanted to talk about climate change and environmental concerns—things that the government does not show signs of wanting to discuss. Then I heard about Neskantaga: in the heart of the world's largest intact boreal wetland, this tiny First Nation community was fighting to protect their lands, their water and their way of life against mining projects such as the Ring of Fire. People were suiciding at such a high rate, a state of emergency had been declared. What could I do in the face of such heartbreaking news? This land is so vast, and we are so disconnected…. What I did was I mailed a hundred postcards saying that someone in Montreal cared, I cared, and I asked them to please not give up their struggle, please keep on protecting the water and their sacred land where their ancestors were buried. Months later I got postcards from school children saying “thank you.” I knew then that connecting was as simple as reaching out and speaking up, with heart. 


Legal notice :

The Native Immigrant project is protected by copyright and any use of the images found on this website or on the Native Immigrant Facebook page require written permission by Carolina Echeverria.

We nevertheless encourage artists to develop projects and works that share a common theme with ours. To this end, the concept of Native Immigrant is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This license allows you to use the concept of Native Immigrant and the name, as long as Carolina Echevarria is credited as the author of the project, the concept is not used for commercial purposes, and that any derived work is distributed under the same license.

Should you wish to collaborate with Native Immigrant or use the project in a manner not covered by the license, please contact us.