Understanding Aboriginal Arts in Canada Today: A Review of Knowledge and Literature

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Skystrip, Hannah Claus

France Trépanier, Chris Creighton-Kelly

Canada Council for the Arts

Aboriginal Reports

May 2012


This knowledge and literature review examines a broad range of material on Aboriginal arts in Canada.  Recognizing the importance of oral traditions in Aboriginal knowledge transfer, it also includes information gathered through one-on-one interviews with six senior Aboriginal artists. The following topics are covered: 

  • Aboriginal worldview
  • Canada’s colonial history
  • Aboriginal knowledge
  • Western art lens
  • recent history of Aboriginal arts
  • Aboriginal arts in communities
  • Aboriginal artists and their art
  • the future of Aboriginal arts

In 2009, the Canada Council engaged France Trépanier and Chris Creighton-Kelly to carry out the study, based on topics identified in community consultations around its Aboriginal Arts Research Initiative (AARI).

The study is a component of the AARI, which aims to better understand the specificities of Aboriginal art practices, explore the impact of the arts within Aboriginal communities, investigate the impact of Aboriginal arts in Canada and internationally, and generate interest in research related to Aboriginal arts among other partners, both at national and provincial levels. More information on the AARI

Research and Evaluation Section
Canada Council for the Arts
April 2012 

Full report [PDF, 6.8 MB]