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Research on the Value of Public Funding for Indigenous Arts and Cultures

Last updated: April 29, 2021

Research on the Value of Public Funding for Indigenous Arts and Cultures is our first research project grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing. The project is led by the Research, Measurement and Data Analytics Section and the Creating, Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples Program at the Canada Council in partnership with Archipel Research and Consulting Inc., an Indigenous-owned firm.

This research aims to develop a framework that furthers our understanding of the significance of the Council’s funding for Indigenous artists and the vital role that Indigenous arts and cultures play in the lives of all Canadians.

The Council acknowledges that government research has often been grounded in European worldviews and as a government agency we should carefully consider our research with Indigenous peoples. We recognize and actively support Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and sovereignty. For this project, Archipel is working with Indigenous and decolonizing research methodologies that will prioritize meaningful and respectful dialogue with Indigenous artists from various backgrounds and cultural identities. In addition to the Archipel research team, an Indigenous Advisory Circle provides guidance on matters applicable to this research project for its duration.

This project began in May 2020, and the release of a report is scheduled for late 2021.

The Archipel research team for this project are:

  • Sabre Pictou Lee, MA, BFA (Mi’kmaq)
  • Monique Manatch, PhD (Cand.), MA (Algonquin)
  • William Felepchuk, PhD (Cand.), MA, BA
  • Muna Osman, MA, PhD (Cand.), BA
  • Courtney Vaughan, MA, BA (Métis)
  • Aliqa Illauq (Inuk)
  • Jeremy Speller, MA, BA (Mi’kmaq)
  • Catherine Stockall, MA, BA
  • Jean-Marie Vianney Rurangwa, PhD (Cand.), MA, BA, BA

The Advisory Circle for this project are:

  • Penny Couchie
  • Jennifer David
  • Jonathan Dewar
  • Stephen Foster
  • Heather Igloliorte

Progress to Date:

Research on the Value of Public Funding for Indigenous Arts and Cultures is grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing and is specifically guided by Eduaptmunk, a Mi’kmaq methodology known as Two-Eyed Seeing. This methodology brings the strengths of both Indigenous and Western worldviews together to move forward in harmonious and sustainable relations.

The project recently completed its first stage of engagement via interviews. This stage puts into use the conversational method of Indigenous research articulated by scholar Margaret Kovach. This method centres Indigenous principles such as story as method, situating self and culture, and an ethical focus to ensure the research honours Indigenous peoples, communities, and relations.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Archipel conducted individual interviews remotely. These interviews focused on individual perspectives and experiences with arts and culture within the context of their specific community. Archipel engaged over 100 participants through interviews and paid special attention to ensure diversity amongst interviewees and the wholistic representation of Indigenous arts and culture practitioners throughout Canada. 

After the completion of the first research stage, Archipel is currently preparing a preliminary report based on an analysis of the interviews. To complement the insights from the interviews, Archipel has developed additional opportunities for engagement with Indigenous artists, cultural carriers, and communities of creativity. The second stage of engagement is an online quantitative survey that will be launched in the spring, with data being collected throughout the summer. For the third stage of engagement for this project, also throughout the summer months, Archipel will conduct focus groups in each region to add insights to the research process.

Archipel has been working collaboratively with the Advisory Circle and Canada Council staff to discuss the project on a regular basis and incorporate feedback on the research approach. Research participants are also invited to provide feedback on the results of the study as they become available.


Please contact the research team at: