As Montreal prepares to celebrate its founding narratives, this project seeks to highlight the long-standing presence of Indigenous Peoples in the city, and specifically in Cabot Square, as a local gathering site. While we recognize Montreal as existing on unceded Kanien'kehá:ka territory, we seek to highlight how diverse Indigenous peoples have long been a part of Montreal’s urban spaces, and that Cabot Square is one of these rich sites.
To do so, we propose to present Indigenous stories of the city and the Square using Photovoice. Photovoice is a participatory media-making practice, which will serve as a means to reassert Indigenous presence and history within the city. This is our main objective. However, the objective of this project is twofold, and we are also committed to offering young Indigenous students the opportunity to develop new skills and new forms of documenting and representing Indigenous stories and knowledges (their own and those of others). Thus, our objective is to offer training in a community-based collaborative approach, which they can then use in their own future projects, to current and potential Indigenous students at Concordia. Hence, Indigenous students from Concordia University, Dawson College, and possibly John Abbott College will have access to workshops that will expand their knowledge of photovoice methodology, community-based research, and research ethics.
Through this twofold objective, the overall goal of the photovoice project is to support social change by educating the general public on Indigenous histories and experiences of Montreal, and by influencing policy makers by sharing with them these stories, through the final exhibit in the square. The attendance at this final event of Indigenous organizations, communities, and of a general public of Montrealers, as well as the municipal leadership, will be an indicator of the success of our project.
The Photovoice in Cabot Square project is the first project of our group, a first step in establishing collaboration with networks of Indigenous urban communities, and Indigenous organizations at Concordia, in the framework of a long-term commitment to understanding Montreal as an Indigenous place, historically and contemporarily. Our group plans on undertaking other projects: soundscapes, podcasts, food sustainability in relation to the Botanical Garden’s First Nations garden, and possible mapping of Indigenous Montreal, are other projects that we discuss as a group. This will depend on the community members’ visions, interests and needs, once we establish collaboration through the current project.
Ethnography lab & living gallery EV.Building, 10.625, Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology, Sir George Williams Campus, Concordia University, 1515 Rue Sainte-Catherine O, Montréal, QC