this is indian land

For the 2019 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, PWB will be partnering with photographer Stan Williams, showcasing his work throughout the month of May in downtown Toronto, Canada at the Black Cat Showroom.

Stan Williams’ ongoing series, This is Indian Land, highlights the front-line struggles for Indigenous self-determination throughout Turtle Island. This exhibition explores the tireless work of communities who are upholding their way of life, their cultures, and their lands against the forces of colonization. 

In what is known as Canada today, the ongoing impact of colonization has led to the marginalization of Indigenous ways of life. This root cause underlies disproportionate levels of child apprehensions, youth suicide, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, loss of languages, poverty, and the dispossession and degradation of lands and waters. A Mohawk and Anishinaabe photographer, Williams works to raise the voices of his community through his documentary images, inspiring change by portraying those who are reclaiming and reaffirming their rights through marches and protests. This is Indian Land challenges individuals with colonial privilege to uphold their responsibilities of recognizing and respecting the laws of Indigenous peoples, whose lands they prosper and live upon.


opening night

To kickoff the month, join us May 4th, 6-10pm for an Opening Ceremony, followed by a celebration with music, food by Nish Dish, and drinks by Sleeman Brewery.

Opening Night Schedule
5:00pm - Doors Open
6:00pm - Introduction & Opening Ceremony
7:00pm - Intermission
8:00pm - Drinks and Hors D'oeuvre’s served

Gallery Info
Gallery Hours: Wednesday—Sunday, 12—5pm
Address: 1785 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6N 1J6

CONTACT 2019 Images (8 of 10).jpg



We hope this timeline will help give some context and background to This is Indian Land. This timeline and the linked information is by no means comprehensive; we encourage you to keep learning, keep listening and keep making space for Indigenous folks, friends and family to rise. 

1492: Christopher Columbus and first contact European settlers on Turtle Island (North America) 

1763: The Royal Proclamation of 1763 and Treaties

1867: Indian Act

1960's-present: Sixties Scoop (Seventies Scoop, Eighties Scoop, Nineties Scoop, Millennium Scoop, etc)

1971: Helen Betty Osbourne and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG)

1982: Section 35

1985: Bill C-31

1987: Meech Lake Accord

1990: Oka Crisis

1990: Neil Stonechild

1996: Last residential school closedRoyal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) Report

2007: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

2012: Idle No More

2013: Kinder-Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

2014: Tina Fontaine

2015: Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Final Report

2016: Standing Rock and Dakota Access Pipeline

2016: Colten Boushie

2018: Colten Boushie & Tina Fontaine verdicts

2018: TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline


“I use photography to portray the beautiful struggle of our Indigenous Peoples. Often misconstrued by outsiders, the stories told of our communities are frequently expressed through an oppressive colonial lens. My intention is to depict our collective fight for respect and justice, in a way that dignifies the reality that many strive to overcome. My goal is to drive forward a critique and revocation of colonialism in order to create space for truth telling.

The people portrayed in my work often reveal a story that is peaceful, powerful and righteous. I work to amplify the voices of our grassroots community activism through my documentary photography to inspire change. In the spirit of reciprocity, I hope my images can carry our stories forward.”


ABOUT THE ARTIST: stan williams


Born in Vancouver B.C., Stan Williams (Kanien’keha:ka/Anishnaabe) is from Garden River First Nation, located in Ontario. He attended the Emily Carr Institute of Fine Arts and Design in Vancouver and has since become a self-taught photographer. As an emerging artist, his documentary work seeks to amplify the voices of Indigenous communities’ assertions of self-determination and cultural resurgence.

Stan has been support by the Ontario Arts Council’s Emerging Artist Program and is a recipient of Hnatyshyn Foundation’s Reveal Indigenous Art Award in 2017. He has exhibited his work at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology, has been published in numerous news outlets including CBC News, Briarpatch Magazine, Two Row Times Newspaper, First Nations Drum Newspaper, and works with multiple organizations including: Greenpeace Canada; Yellowhead Institute; and, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.

He currently lives and works out of Toronto with his wife and daughter. For more information, please visit

The Space

We are excited for the opportunity to feature this exhibit at the Black Cat Showroom, an independent art gallery in downtown Toronto that supports the arts community and focuses on exclusivity.



A huge thank you to our Print Partner, Vistek for supplying our beautiful prints.


Our Sponsors

We owe a big thank you to our sponsors and partners this year for making this event possible.