A groundbreaking initiative which aims to promote artistic collaborations that look to the past & future for new dialogues between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

At a time when once again we are reminded of the challenges, hardships and tragedies many Indigenous communities are facing, we must reflect on the history of colonialism and oppression that has marked Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations on this land.

The Canada Council for the Arts firmly believes the arts sector has an important role to play in addressing the critical issues of our time.

The Truth and Reconciliation Report recommendation 83 speaks to the importance of the arts in the conversations and actions for the future of indigenous and non-indigenous relationships.

We believe a commitment to conciliation, reconciliation and the vital process of healing, empowerment and self-determination for Indigenous peoples and communities to be of utmost importance and a priority for a truly shared future.

We remain committed to this work and our support of indigenous artists and arts organization in Canada.

Continue reading

Discover the projects funded in the first round of this initiative below.

Photo credit: Two members of the k'inadas collective -- Ayumi Goto and Peter Morin – taken from a performance project in Ottawa, as part of an ongoing performance in homage to the Nishyuu walkers.

O k’inadas

Ashok Mathur

O k’inadas is a multi-part project that will bring together artists from various artistic disciplines to inhabit an six-week residency during July and August of 2016 that will result in the production of new individual and collaborative work addressing the complexities of reconciliation practices.

Longer term outcomes will combine a travelling curatorial exhibition with a major publication. The artists will be mostly Indigenous, with the non-Indigenous participants drawn largely from racialized communities, countering the usual reconciliation discussion framework that depends on the pairing of European and Indigenous parties. This different formation will be a radically unique contribution to responses to colonialism, allowing for the generation of a new creative paradigm around reconciliation. The project is led by a collective of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists working together to produce a significant body of work that transcends colonial politics and art-making.


Photo credit: Melaw Nakehk'o

Denendeh Mural/Concert

Leela Gilday

On Aboriginal Day 2017, 9 artists from across the NWT will gather in Yellowknife to present a concert of new music and unveil a mural honouring the survivors of the 14 residential schools across the north.

The mural will be collaboration by 3 diverse Dene artists; the concert will be music on the theme of reconciliation by Dene and Inuit artists who are both residential school survivors themselves, or family of survivors. The music and art will explore the themes of cultural loss, genocide, resilience, fear, strength, and the idea of how we move forward together. The concert will be a powerful community experience. The mural will be on permanent display for years to come, reminding people in the north of our collective history.


Photo credit: Ryan McMahon

Stories from the Land

Ryan McMahon

A 12 part live storytelling series that will take place across the country that will connect audiences with Indigenous Storytellers sharing stories about their (dis)connection to the places they are from.

These stories will be personal, powerful & intimate and will give the viewer/listener access to personal histories/realities. These stories will connect our past to our present and these stories will be recorded, edited & produced with sound design, field audio will be treated more as media art pieces than simple live stories which will highlight, reinforce & challenge both traditional & contemporary Indigenous worldviews (past & present) as they relate to our relationship to land, share philosophies & teachings as they pertain to connection of time and place, and of course share the laughs & the heartbreak being on the land has/can provide.


Photo credit: Reno Couchie.


Dermot Wilson and Reno Couchie

For the Driveabout project (or an Nishnaab and an Artsnaab Make a Video About Whether or Not Anything has Really Changed) artists Reno Couchie and Dermot Wilson will document with video, still photography and audio recordings what happens to them as their travel across the country during the summer of 2016.

They will record our encounters with friends who have invited them in. Along the way they also plan to visit artists' communities to see what they're doing, ‘now that we're all reconciled’ and to explore the belief that things will change for the better? The Driveabout will feature new voices of hope and might end up convincing us (and maybe a few people who participate in the project) that, despite many toothy misgivings and wiseacre critiques upon political solutions to real societal problems, we have indeed started down a road to renewal and eventually to mutual respect.

Photo credit: Still image from SNIP. Separate film creation by Terri Calder and Joseph Boyden

Photo credit: Still image from SNIP. Separate film creation by Terri Calder and Joseph Boyden

Project Charlie

Terril Calder, Joseph Boyden, Jason Ryle, Geeta Sondhi

Project Charlie (working title) is a short animated dramatic film retelling of 12-year-old Indian Residential School student Charlie Wenjack’s death in October 1966 and the court hearing that followed. Project Charlie seeks to draw national and international attention to this largely unknown moment of Canadian history that was the first step in an ongoing journey of conciliation and reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

The legacy of the Residential School system is pervasive amongst Aboriginal people and its dramatic and significant impact on Canadian society past, present and future is one that the country is still being awoken to. Canada’s first inquest into the treatment of Aboriginal children in Residential Schools was launched following Charlie’s death. The project is led by Terril Calder (Métis), Joseph Boyden (Métis), Jason Ryle (Anishinaabe) and Geeta Sondhi.

Photo credit: Joseph Suqslaq

Photo credit: Joseph Suqslaq

Nattilik (Netsilik) art exhibition by the Gjoa Haven, Nunavut community about the impact of the residential school period on the Inuit 

Nattilik Heritage Society

This project will collect a community’s contemporary thought about a period that disturbed its people to their core and express these feelings through an often-expressionistic art form known as Netsilik (Nattilik) art.

The project will seek to have the residential school period and its impacts presented from various perspectives within the Inuit community. The artwork will be created by survivors of the residential school system as well as artists of other generations who have conciliation/reconciliation experiences to share. The collection will be on exhibit at the Nattilik Heritage Centre in Gjoa Haven (2000km north of Winnipeg) and a series of provincial museums at various major southern Canadian cities. The project will be administered by the Nattilik Heritage Society, a non-profit Inuit organization. The process will be led by the Nattilik Heritage Society and include participation by established artisans in the community, including Helen Kaloon, Joseph Suqslaq and Uriash Puqiqnak.

Photo credit: Ursula Johnson, Ke'tapekiaq Ma'qimikew: The Land Sings, Cape Breton Visitation, 2015. Photo: Dr. Marcia Ostashkewski. Courtesy of the Artist.

Photo credit: Ursula Johnson, Ke'tapekiaq Ma'qimikew: The Land Sings, Cape Breton Visitation, 2015. Photo: Dr. Marcia Ostashkewski. Courtesy of the Artist.


Collective Tarah Hogue, Maria Hupfield and Tania Willard with Christi Belcourt, Ursula Johnson and Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory

#callresponse presents the work of First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and artists as central to the strength and healing of their communities. This multifaceted project brings together five site-specific art commissions that invite collaboration with individuals, communities, lands and institutions. This socially engaged project focuses on the "act of doing" through performative actions, highlighting the responsibility of voice and necessity of communal dialogue practiced by Indigenous Peoples.

An online platform will utilize the hashtag #callresponse on social media and a dedicated project website will serve to connect the geographically diverse sites and to generate discussion. An exhibition will be held at grunt gallery in October 2016 with guest respondents, accompanying programming, and a catalogue. The project is led by Tarah Hogue (French/Dutch/Métis), Maria Hupfield (Anishinaabe) and Tania Willard (Secwepemc) and features five lead artists working in the following locations: Maria Hupfield in New York NY, Tania Willard in Secwepemc Territory BC and invited artists Christi Belcourt (Métis) on Manitoulin Island ON, Ursula Johnson (Mi'kmaw) in Vancouver BC, and Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory (Inuk) in Iqaluit NU.

@gruntgallery /callresponseart.ca

Reconciliation Film Project

First Nations Child & Family Caring Society (Caring Society) and filmmaker Andrée Cazabon

The Reconciliation Film Project is a collaborative initiative between the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (Caring Society) and filmmaker Andrée Cazabon, who will produce a medium length documentary film (22 to 40 min) and an accompanying multi-media children’s response campaign to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)'s Report.

The film will inspire broad mainstream Canadian society to engage in reconciliation while its accompanying children’s campaign will specifically focus on children and youth by producing a child-friendly adaption of the TRC's Report and the point of view of children and youth. The campaign will be shared freely via social media and schools across Canada through the extensive networks already established from previously successful children’s campaign at the Caring Society with their reconciliation team. Based in Ottawa, the Caring Society is a national First Nations organization focused on the health, safety and wellbeing of First Nations children, youth and families. Filmmaker Andrée Cazabon is the President of Productions Cazabon. Since 2008 she has been focused on raising awareness towards reconciliation through her documentary film, 3rd World Canada.

fncaringsociety.com / andréecazabon.ca / @Caringsociety / @andréecazabon

Photo credit: Samuel Thomas

Opening the Doors to Dialogue

Samuel Thomas

Opening the Doors to Dialogue is a collaborative project involving artists, organizations, Elders, and community members both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal made up of residential school survivors, their descendants, and the general public. Through a series of beadwork sessions, the artist and groups will bead 4-6 doors salvaged from residential schools across Canada. These sessions will provide a forum for open dialogue while sharing culture through the creation of a monumental work of art.

Through the creative process the dialogue that will occur will assist in opening the doors to the healing process. This project will not only open the dialogue between several people during the creative development of the art work proposed, but will continue to create dialogue for thousands of viewers for years to come through the finished work and public exhibition. The project is led by Samuel Thomas (Six Nations of the Grand River Cayuga), a researcher, artist, and educator of Iroquois beadwork.

Woodland Centre (partner) / Facebook page

This is What I Wish You Knew

Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre

“This is What I Wish You Knew” brings together 50 Aboriginal community artists- youth, adults and Elders-in Halifax, to explore their individual and collective identities and develop the stories they “wish you- the public- knew.” A large Interactive Clay Mural will showcase the artists’ journeys, through individually created tiles linked to films profiling each artist’s story, to build understanding, create a space for dialogue, and lay the foundation for reconciliation.

The project is led by Pamela Glode-Desrochers (Mi’kmaw), Executive Director of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, a north-end Halifax based organization, in collaboration with Dr. Amy Bombay (academic support), Dorrie Brown (mural support), Yvonne Mosley (film support) and Dr. Carla Taunton (artistic/academic support).

mymnfc.com / Facebook page

Jury Members

  • Dr. Heather Igloliorte, Assistant Professor of Art History and Concordia University Research Chair in Indigenous Art History and Community Engagement, Concordia University, Montreal, Québec
  • Jonathan Dewar, Director, Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre & Special Advisor to the President, Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
  • Jim Logan, Program Officer, Visual Arts Section, Canada Council for the Arts / Artist, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Nicole McDonald, Program Director, Indigenous Initiatives The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Ottawa, Ontario