ANCRAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Forge Project, a new Native-led arts and decolonial education initiative based in Ancram, is hosting a three-part series of dialogues and intimate conversation sessions, “Gentrification is Colonialism,” between local organizers, community members, and Indigenous activists whose work fights against gentrification, the housing crisis, “sick” architecture, and the ways in which artists and cultural spaces are complicit in their construction.

The series expands from the central tenet that gentrification is colonialism and that one of the ways we can understand how gentrification operates as well as means to counter its effects is by tracing its historical roots to the displacement and genocide of Indigenous people, particularly in the Hudson River Valley.

Each panel will be moderated by a local artist or organizer, and feature local activists known for their work on the topic in dialogue with an Indigenous activist, architect, artist, or scholar in Forge Project’s community who is taking a new approach to this age-old colonial issue. The public panel will be followed by a debriefing conversation among panelists and community members, where participants can ask more specific questions and discuss the issues raised during these conversations in greater depth.

The entire series is free and open to the public; pre-registration is appreciated. Light refreshments will follow each panel and lunch will be served during the debriefing conversations.

Anti-Institutions and Indigenous Liberation: Saturday, November 5

The first panel in this series, “Anti-Institutions and Indigenous Liberation,” hosted at Forge Project, looks to Indigenous models of refusal, resistance, and organizing both on-reserve and in urban centers as a means to critically examine the relationships between art and gentrification and gentrification and colonialism.

Panelists for the November 5 event will include Tania Willard, 2022 Forge Project Fellow and Bush Gallery co-founder, and Audra Simpson, Anthropologist at Columbia University. The panel will be moderated by Jamie Sanin of Celebrate845.

Housing and Colonizing Architecture: Saturday, December 3

The second panel, “Housing and Colonizing Architecture,” will take place in Kingston, a city where organizers say severe and compounded housing, affordability, and zoning crises are pushing families with the fewest options into increasingly desperate circumstances. The dialogue will focus on the ways in which architecture itself, including but not limited to “public” or government housing, is a tool of the colonial project in the United States and Canada. In this context, Indigenous architecture, both historical and contemporary, offers non- and anti-colonial models useful in understanding and extending both organizing and scholarship with regard to government housing.

The panel will be hosted by architect Chris Cornelius. It will be moderated by Kwame Holmes, scholar in residence at Bard.

Organizing as anti-colonialism: January 2023

The final dialogue in the series, “Organizing as anti-colonialism,” will be solutions-oriented and offer an opportunity for organizers to find commonalities in their tactics that may benefit their activist work. While anti-gentrification and anti-colonial organizing must address policies and practices particular to its immediate community, this dialogue and following conversation hopes to find actionable insights that can be translated across regions.

The event will be held in Newburgh and moderated by Beacon City Council Member Paloma Wake. Panelists will include Tiokasin Ghosthorse of First Voices Radio and Rae Leiner of the Newburgh LGBTQ Center.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks will be required for all who visit Forge Project or Forge Project hosted events. If you are feeling ill or have been recently exposed to COVID-19 or Monkeypox, organizers ask that you stay home.