imagi’NATION Collective is a grassroots, arts-based production company focused on raising awareness, by developing creative educational tools and skills to encourage and cultivate self-care and wellness for youth in Indigenous communities across Canada. The intended use of these tools is to provide outreach for relief, support, healing and especially self-harm prevention efforts.
We are driven by the powerful calling to build bonds between Indigenous Youth, cultural connections, and emotional, mental, physical and spiritual wellness. We intend to raise the vibrancy and quality of life through arts and education, based on grassroots teachings, so that they may acquire the skills and tools needed to thrive in order to begin a cycle of understanding, healing and growing.
In December of 2009, the urban Indigenous community of Vancouver suffered a great loss (among too many others) when a young girl named Chasity Smith took her life at age 14. In the wake of this tragedy, Beneath the Surface the play was born, with a goal to address suicide and underlying issues connected to this crisis. Along with our theatrical presentation, imagi’NATION has developed several corresponding educational, mental health workshops using traditional teachings for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth engagement, creating spaces for greater understanding of relevant related topics, personal empathy and self-harm deterrence and awareness; working in partnership with Vancouver Crisis Centre providing imagi'NATION with resource materials for prevention and support.
Beneath the Surface began touring Western Canada in 2010 to communities such as, Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Terrace, Kitimat, Kamloops, Merritt, Chilliwack, Siksika-AB, and throughout Vancouver. In October 2015, imagi'NATION worked with Vancouver Moving Theatre opening The Heart of the City Festival, alongside a week-long residency at Templeton Secondary School. In May of 2016, we delivered another five-day residency to four Secondary schools at UFV Theatre in Chilliwack BC, together with several interactive Medicine Wheel workshops for the Youth. And finally, in September 2016, imagi'NATION Collective was awarded the Innovation award from Telus (sponsors of the Heart of the City Festival).
For each tour imagi’NATION Collective undertaken within, interest has been fostered through the impact of our storytelling, creative processes, visual representation and our connectedness to our culture and ancestors. We have had many positive and remarkable responses to our productions and workshops and often receive requests for crisis relief. Many of these requests come from grieving northern and remote First Nation’s communities throughout Canada, during and after tragedy. We recognize that to benefit the youth in the most effective and impactful ways possible we need to grow and make accessibility a priority, thus our current creation of the Beneath the Surface: Youth Outreach Program, with mobile resources. Unfortunately, we have encountered several barriers to gaining the funding support with which to expand our outreach. In building this program we are developing an interactive, in-depth, experience, equipped with activities, discussions and teachings, which will include a companion DVD of the play along with the script of Beneath the Surface and study guide. Most importantly, with this program we will be able to rebuild communities through shaping the next generation of leaders, chiefs, warriors, and change makers. These youth will grow to be the foundations on which our communities rest. Building community starts with building up healthy kids.