Chez Nous Chez Vous
CHEZ NOUS CHEZ VOUS: OUR HOME IS YOUR HOME
Montreal, April 26, 2021
As we have just launched the spring season of our Chez Nous Chez Vous project, the current exclusive conversation about Bill 21 between anglophones and francophones reminds us of the one about the dismaying Quebec Charter of Values in 2013. If that Charter was meant to educate us, the "immigrants" who make up a third of Quebec's population, about values, the news surrounding the State Secularism Act demonstrates the continued banishment of cultural minorities - particularly religious ones - from a debate that places them at the forefront.
Quebec's cultural communities have a long and rich history. Yet they continue to be relegated to the background where they should listen to the white francophone majority rather than discuss. People from these communities are continually referred to an imagined and fantasized Other, always considered to be immigrants notwithstanding the years, decades and even generations that precede them living here.
In 2013, Native-Immigrant became a place where such conversations could take place. We recognize that newcomers, like all immigrant communities before them, experience a trying yet hopeful journey from being uprooted to trying to put down roots again. These women, men and children make endless efforts to integrate into the host society. But what does the host society do to include them in a collective "Us"?
As a collective, we – Native-Immigrant – do not forget that we too have experienced this journey to the unknown or that our ancestors experienced it before us. We continue to forge a space for dialogue and cultural exchange that recognizes our plural identity. Our workshops and performances are inspired by the care and kindness of indigenous peoples towards our "friends from far away lands". At “The Woods Edge” is a welcoming ceremony where empathy is essential to their welcome. As people of immigrant background, we feel more welcomed by people who have experienced and continue to experience the same discrimination as we have. Together we are stronger.
We invite you to join us in a collective effort to make our home a welcoming place for all. Together, we will create welcome items that will form gift baskets for newcomer families to decorate their new homes on this land. We want each and every one of them to know that they are one of us: our home is your home.