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The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in Canada

The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to reaffirming and revitalizing its relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. The Canada Council believes that an approach that respects First Nations, Inuit and Métis artistic expression, cultural protocols, Indigenous rights and Indigenous worldviews will stimulate First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists, artistic practices, and communities.

Creating, Knowing and Sharing acknowledges the cultural sovereignty of Indigenous peoples and respects the concepts of First Nations, Inuit and Métis self-determination.

Creating

Creating provides support for research, production, and creation of new works of art. The Canada Council acknowledges the depth and breadth of First Nations, Inuit and Métis artistic and creative production in customary as well as contemporary milieus.

Knowing

Knowing provides support for the retention, maintenance, innovation and transmittal of cultural knowledge and creative practice. This includes contemporary and historical critical discourse, arts/cultural training and initiatives that seek to pass cultural knowledge to younger generations through artistic practice, and the renewal and maintenance of customary art practices.

Sharing

Sharing provides support for the dissemination, exhibition, presentation and distribution of works of art by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, which enrich and engage communities in Canada and abroad.

The Canada Council, through this program, affirms the following guiding principles: 

  • respect Indigenous worldviews, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007)
  • support and uphold the principles of reconciliation, articulated through the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015)
  • support artistic activities that respect and encourage First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultural self-determination and the vitality of Indigenous artistic practices and communities
  • recognize the distinct and unique place of First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists in Canada as creators, interpreters, translators and transmitters of an inherent Indigenous cultural continuity, as well as unique contributions made to Canadian cultural identity
  • recognize and support customary and contemporary artistic practices by First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists
  • support and develop a Canadian arts landscape that is deeply ingrained with perspectives, voices, stories, struggles and aesthetics of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada
  • recognize the distinctiveness of the many unique and self-defining First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities in Canada
  • recognize a wide variety of artistic and cultural practitioners within First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities

This program supports Indigenous individuals, groups, Indigenous-led arts organizations and arts/cultural sector development organizations that foster a vital and resilient Indigenous arts ecosystem.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, groups and organizations may apply to Creating, Knowing and Sharing (or to the other 5 Canada Council programs) for funding for artistic and cultural activities. Canada Council stands by Indigenous artists through a variety of programs and initiatives, such as {Re}conciliation. This program functions using a self-determined, Indigenous-centred approach. This means that it will be guided by Indigenous values and worldviews, administered by staff of First Nations, Inuit and Métis heritage, and assessed by First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals.

Collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, that are led by Indigenous artists/organizations are encouraged and facilitated in Creating, Knowing and Sharing.

Program Components

Travel

Project grants to First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists, arts professionals, groups and organizations for travel to attend significant events within Canada or abroad

Small-Scale Activities

Micro grants to support the advancement of artistic careers or practices of First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists, arts professionals, groups and organizations

Short-Term Projects

Support to First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists, groups, and organizations for short-term projects (up to 1 year)

Long-Term Projects

Support to First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists, groups, and organizations for long-term projects (between 1 to 3 years)

Indigenous Organizations

Support to the ongoing artistic/cultural activities (including staffing) of First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations

The Canada Council is committed to equity and inclusion, and encourages applications from culturally diverse, Deaf, disability and official language minority artists, groups and organizations. The Canada Council recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Indigenous peoples of this land and encourages applications from First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, groups, and organizations in all its programs. Measures are in place in all programs to support these commitments.

Applicants - who can apply

Individuals

This program is open to all citizens and permanent residents of the land now known as Canada, who are over 18 years of age and self-define as First Nations, Inuit or Métis.

Organizations

Organizations are defined as those involving 3 or more people, the majority of which are First Nations, Inuit or Métis, with a written governance structure and financial presence in its name (a bank account, for example). Organizations may be “for profit” or “not-for-profit” for project funding, however only eligible publishers and not-for-profit organizations will be considered for core (operating) funding.