1. Initiatives
  2. {Re}conciliation
Reconciliation Logo

In partnership with

The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada

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

Developed by Canada Council, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in anticipation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's final report and recommendations, the {Re}conciliation Initiative aimed to promote artistic collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, investing in the power of art and imagination to inspire dialogue, understanding and change.

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Igalaaq (Seing through)

Igalaaq (Seing through)

Arnait collective

This project is one of communication between the North and the South, between Inuit and “Southerners”. Relying on community involvement and participation, it will pull together processes of communication and artistic creation between the North and the South using Internet technologies. This will be documented and archived in galleries or public spaces in the North and in the South where the audiences will be invited to participate.

Photo credit: Plateau Uvanga. Photo by Philippe Ruel

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Makkuktuit Tussaviu

The Makkuktuit Tussaviu Project

Artcirq Inuit Peformance Collective

The Makkuktuit Tussaviu Project is an initiative intended to instigate an artistic movement of communication, collaboration, and creation as a remedial response to trauma amongst the youth of Nunavik and Nunavut communities. These circus and music artists will lead live creation events blending contemporary and traditional Inuit practices gathering professional, emerging, and aspiring artists in Igloolik, Iqaluit, Arviat, and Kujjuuaq, to stimulate meaningful conversations, partnerships, and performances about cultural resilience and identity. As a whole, the project aims to empower Inuit youth through their artistic expression to effectively respond to the issues of reconciliation in Canada and nurture a resilient culturally-rooted Inuit performing arts community.

Photo credit: Gisle Henriet

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Lieux de Cœur – Cicatrices de la Terre-Mère

Places of the heart/Scars of Mother Earth

Centre d'amitié autochtone de Val d'Or

This project brings together artists from different nations in a meeting that is as much between the nations as with the land. Lieux de Cœur – Cicatrices de la Terre-Mère proposes the site-specific creation of ephemeral works in the vein of Land Art to (re)create and (re)present esthetically a selection of the significant geosymbols of the intangible heritage of the Algonquin communities of Témiscamingue and Abitibi, in northwestern Québec. The artistic productions presented in a travelling exhibition will portray these Land Art creations through large format photographs, art videos, installations, and a trilingual (Anicinabe, French and English) booklet and exhibition texts. 

Photo credit: © Cédric Renaud Picard, 2010

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Sideshow Freaks and Circus Injuns

Sideshow Freaks and Circus Injuns

Chocolate Woman Collective

Chocolate Woman Collective's ongoing reclamation of historical memory and cultural translating continues with Side Show Freaks & Circus Injuns written by Monique Mojica and LeAnne Howe. This site specific performance will be presented at various mound sites and earth works across Turtle Island, beginning at sites within the Greater Toronto Area. The (re) conciliatory action this work reanimates is between our bodies and the land.

Photo credit: Dustin Mater - Chickasaw Nation

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Gwayakotam: Listening to the Truth

Gwayakotam: Listening to the Truth

Crow Creator Collective

Gwayakotam is a podcast series and community art project that explores the intersection between traditional stories that have been passed down through generations and the contemporary experiences of Aroland First Nation within the reconciliation process in Canada. The series will investigate questions around what reconciliation means and what it looks like at different levels from the individual to the national through the lens of a First Nation community in Northern Ontario striving to understand their history and place in the process of healing.

Photo credit: Damien Bouchard (Crow Creator)

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Mamuitun : initiative de rapprochement entre des artistes de la scène autochtones et québécoises

Mamuitum

Kathia Angela Rock

Mamuitun is a creation residency in music composition and song writing that will assemble 22 artists in an unusual setting. For five days, 11 artists representing each of the 11 Indigenous Nations of Quebec and 11 Quebec artists will be paired up and will pool their talents. Each work created will attest to their appreciation of a new reading of history in the light of truth and with the objective of reconciliation. The paired artists will compose a song together to showcase each of the 11 Indigenous languages, and to be produced during the residency. Through a process of re-remembering and reinterpreting history – taking into account the traumas endured through the application of drastic measures aimed at the assimilation of Indigenous peoples – the artist will be brought to unite and blend their voices in a creation. This composition will be emblematic of the speaking out that is necessary in the journey toward reconciliation – for a reconciliation of the past and the future, and recognition of the present.

Photo credit: Kathia Rock. Photo by René Bellefeuille

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Four Seasons for Healing and (Re)conciliation

Four Seasons for Healing and (Re)conciliation

Lana Mae Whiskeyjack

Led by two Cree women visual artists who enjoy sharing transformational stories, educating with love, and creating art. Their collective vision is to create a visual documentary as they travel to different urban and rural communities within Treaty Six territory in Alberta to undertake workshops. The driving force of the documentary will be the sharing of personal stories about Treaties, the Indian Residential School experience, intergenerational resilience and the reconciliation and healing that will result from the creation of art and connection to traditions and lands. The media of creation will include traditional arts (beadwork and Sweetgrass figurine sculpture), traditional storytelling, digital storytelling, and the documentary film, itself. Through engaging Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in various inclusive dialogues, storytelling, combined with art and cultural activities in each of the four seasons, the artists will combine their knowledge and experiences to share personal stories of an IRS survivor (Alsena) and a child of an IRS survivor (Lana) and the effects of intergenerational trauma. The stories will weave personal challenges and triumphs of being iskwewak (women) from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Treaty Six territory, using story, song, humour, and art to engage dialogue, awareness and connection. The outcomes will be posted on www.lanawhiskeyjack.ca to share the experience. Lana Whiskeyjack has collaborated with various artists, communities and organizations, from art fusion experiences to art retreats.

Photo credit: Lana Whiskeyjack

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In Honour of the Sisters : Creating a New Consciousness Around Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

In Honour of the Sisters : Creating a New Consciousness Around Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

Making Treaty 7

In Honour of the Sisters is a new theatrical work that emerges from the issues surrounding the spirit and intent of Treaty 7 : that ‘we are all treaty people’ - both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across Canada are living together on the same land. What can we do to better understand one another and how do we all move forward together as Treaty people ? In Honour of the Sisters will be developed in collaboration with three academic partners – Mount Royal University, the University of Calgary and St. Mary’s University. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report will also form part of the compendium of resources. The premiere of In Honour of the Sisters will take place as part of Making Treaty 7’s annual fall performance and Canada 150 Celebration in Calgary in October of 2017. The creative process for this work will be documented and made available online.

Photo credit: Treaty 7 Alanna Blackrider Onespot. Photo by Bert Crowfoot

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Illirijavut: Inuit Storytelling and Storybook-making workshop

Illirijavut: Inuit Storytelling and Storybook-making workshop

Qumaq Mangiuk

This project will invite the Inuit and Non-Inuit publics to participate in a series of free, open, culturally safe, healing storytelling and storybook-making workshops. Inuit Elders will share their personal stories —“Our reality. Our everyday life and culture”—while workshop participants create original artwork and transcribe oral Inuit history into Inuktitut syllabics, English or French. The results will challenge and provoke the notion of Inuit culture, break down stereotypes and educate the Canadian public while also empowering Inuit identity.. Participants will learn the techniques of storybook-making creating illustrations inspired by true-life stories told by Inuit Elders.

Photo credit: Kayurtuq (Red Fox) by Qumaq Mangiuk Iyaituk. Photo by Kathryn Delaney

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Ecko-ngoding: Shoolee Telling the stories about my life

Ecko-ngoding: Shoolee Telling the stories about my life

Shirley Williams

Ecko-ngoding: Shoolee is a book that will document Shirley Ida Willams' childhood stories growing up in the Wikwemikong Unceded Territory (Ontario) in both Anishinaabemowin and English. Shirley I. Williams is an Elder and Professor Emeritus at Trent University and is a leading Anishnaabemowin linguist, traditional knowledge holder, educator and scholar. Also an accomplished storyteller who weaves her life experiences and traditional knowledge into stories that are accessible to a variety of audiences. Through sharing of Shirley I. Williams’ personal stories, Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences will gain a better understanding of a traditional Anishinaabe upbringing in the 1940s.

Photo credit: Eagle Woman Shirley Williams. Photo by George Campana

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Mamow Nigamoowag: Reconciling Youth Through Art

Mamow Nigamoowag: Reconciling Youth Through Art

Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority

This project, led by David Hodges, Nick Sherman, Natasha Quequish, Chelsey Greig, Brent Wesley and Adrienne Fox, will teach youth about their history, reconciliation and the part they can play in improving the future relationships between First Nations and non-First Nations. Participants will have the opportunity to take part in, and learn about, visual art, artistic expression, music recording and production, song writing, performance, as well as marketing and design. They will create a song and video that will be circulated among their friends, families, and communities to promote education, healing, and understanding. Through these workshops, students will be encouraged to be creative, empowered, and expressive.

Photo credit: Blue Earth Photography

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Testify Indigenous Laws and the Arts Collective

Testify

Indigenous Laws and the Arts Collective

Testify is a curated pairing of eleven artists/legal thinkers, working in conversation with each other to create an art work and written work about Indigenous laws and opportunities for the dynamic expression as part of Canadian society. The dialogue invited by the “Testify” project puts the idea of reconciliation into practice by creating a space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians to dream a way forward which respects and reflects the diversity, strength and hope embodied within Indigenous traditions. This project explores how reconciliation will be out of reach until Indigenous Peoples’ own legal traditions for uncovering truth and enhancing reconciliation are embraced as an essential part of the ongoing process of truth determination, dispute resolution, and reconciliation and that only by the active involvement of Indigenous laws can we avoid (re)conciliation morphing, unchallenged, into (re)colonization.

Photo credit: Nadya Kwandibens

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Awaḵ̕wa̱s: Gathering Place

Awaḵ̕wa̱s: Gathering Place

The Kingcome Collective

Awaḵ̕wa̱s: Gathering Place is an original film and multimedia project that examines the contemporary process of reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous (settler) society within the traditional territory of the Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw Tribal Confederation. The project explores relationships within traditional Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw lands, including the remote modern settler community of Echo Bay, an old village site of Kwikwasut'inuxw called Kwakwalawadi. Awaḵ̕wa̱s: Gathering Place calls upon video, sound, story, and voice to explore the early histories and contemporary realities of Indigenous peoples who are re-establishing their place on the land. The work will use audio and video from the Broughton Archipelago, B.C. to bear witness to the processes of remembering, forgetting, knowledge-sharing, and truth-telling. It aims to be an intimate portrait of the experiences of six women who are brought together to build a split-cedar cabin within Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw territory and to explore how this process continues to shape their worlds and relationships.

Photo credit: Mack Bartlett

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Unceded Voices : Anticolonial Street Artists Convergence

Unceded Voices : Anticolonial Street Artists Convergence

Unceded Voices

Unceded Voices: Anticolonial Street Artists Convergence is a biennial convergence of primarily Indigenous-identified street artists who will create street art interventions (murals, wheat pastes, stencils, graffiti, textile art, performances, etc.) in Tiotia:ke (Montreal) as a vehicle to exhibit Indigenous visual traditions. In addition to the visual art produced, oral traditions will be emphasized through meet-ups, performance art, and ongoing dialogue between the artists and the public. Unceded Voices: Anticolonial Street Artists Convergence will also contribute to public education by inviting community members to contemplate how anticolonial art, and street art in particular, can be transformative. The project hopes to develop a network of solidarity and support between Indigenous street artists and street artists of color, promote anti-colonial resistance through diverse street art interventions and foster relationships and dialogue between the collective and the broader community. Overall, the power of the relationships will connect communities and foster dialogue, creation, healing and resilience.

Photo credit: Michael Thessel

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Children of God

Children of God

Urban Ink Production Society

An original Canadian musical, Children of God created by Corey Payette is a powerful musical about an Oji-Cree family whose children were taken away to a residential school in Northern Ontario. The story of Rita, a mother who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, Tom and Julia, who never knew she came, pushes toward redemption. Children of God offers a blend of ancient traditions and contemporary realities, celebrating resilience and the power of the Indigenous cultural spirit. Inspired by First Nations music, Payette’s profoundly moving score also includes echoes of Broadway masterpieces such as Fun Home and Next to Normal.

Photo credit: Matt Barnes

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A place between - a multi-venue, multimedia arts initiative with 24 indigenous artists

A Place Between - A Multi-venue, Multimedia Arts Initiative

Urban Shaman Inc

This project is about 60s Scoop, a Canadian practice beginning in the 1960s of apprehending unusually high numbers of Indigenous children in Canada and fostering or adopting them out, usually to non-Indigenous families. Many Indigenous foster care and adoptees endured abuse and racism in their households. As a result, many now share a common experience of loss of language, ceremony, familiarity of extended family and connection to their identity through the land. This multimedia, multi-venue community art initiative will involve 24 artists who have produced artworks, performances, writing and films that describe a myriad of experiences on being adopted out or placed in case. The project is intended to promote awareness and develop dialogue about the after effects of residential school systems – focusing on the 60s Scoop, to educate the public about the current situation and to investigate strategies and other methods of healing supports for Indigenous families and communities through the unique voice of Indigenous contemporary art.

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Opening the Doors to Dialogue

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.

Photo credit: Samuel Thomas

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This is What I Wish You Knew

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).

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O k’inadas

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: Two members of the O 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.

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Denendeh Mural/Concert

Denendeh Mural/Concert

Leela Gilday

On Aboriginal Day 2017, 9 artists from across the Northwest Territories 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: Melaw Nakehk'o

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Stories from the Land

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

Photo credit: Ryan McMahon

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Driveabout

Driveabout

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: Reno Couchie

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Nattilik (Netsilik) art exhibition by the Gjoa Haven

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: Joseph Suqslaq

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#callresponse

#callresponse

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.

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

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Reconciliation Film Project

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.

Seeking funding for a similar project?
Explore our new program: Creating, Knowing and Sharing

About the Initiative:

This initiative was open to First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists, collectives and arts organizations (including collaborations with non-Aboriginal artists and organizations) who were invited to submit proposals for project funding.

10 projects were selected following the first competition in May 2015, and an additional 16 projects during the second and final competition which closed in June 2016.

The 2016 jury members:

Wanda Brascoupé Peters, Ottawa

Jim Logan, Ottawa

Sara Winnifred Roque Richardson, Toronto

Angela Louise Sterritt, Vancouver

Samuel Thomas, Niagara Falls

France Trépanier, Sidney

The 2015 jury members:

Dr. Heather Igloliorte, Montreal

Jonathan Dewar, Sault Ste. Marie

Jim Logan, Ottawa

Nicole McDonald, Ottawa

For more information

Steven Loft

Director, Creating Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples

E-mail: steven.loft@canadacouncil.ca

613-566-4414, ext. 5212

Toll free: 1-800-263-5533, ext. 5212

Funding

Seeking funding for a similar project?

Artists, collectives and arts organizations can apply for funding under the Creating Knowing Sharing program. Submissions to the {Re}conciliation Initiative are now permanently closed.

Featured Spotlight Articles

CallResponse
Indigenous {Re}conciliation

#callresponse: Situating Indigenous women in re/conciliation

In this post Tarah Hogue gives an update on #callresponse, a socially-engaged work that brings together 5 site-specific art commissions across the country and uses social media and a dedicated project website to connect the sites and generate discussion.

Tarah Hogue
Tarah Hogue
Equity in the Arts
Equity Indigenous {Re}conciliation

Equity in the Arts: Opening the Doors for a Better Future

Anyone who knows me knows that I am convinced that the arts can lead us on a pathway to a better future.

Simon Brault, O.C, O.Q.
Simon Brault, O.C, O.Q.
Opening Doors to Reconciliation
Artist Stories Indigenous {Re}conciliation

Opening Doors to Reconciliation

In 2016, Six Nations Cayuga artist Samuel Thomas led 42 workshops in 8 communities across Ontario and Saskatchewan — bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples together.

Samuel Thomas
Samuel Thomas
Rencontres de la diversité
New Chapter Speeches {Re}conciliation

Simon Brault at the Rencontres de la diversité

Over the past few months, Council has communicated extensively with the arts community and the general public.

Simon Brault, O.C, O.Q.
Simon Brault, O.C, O.Q.