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I challenge you to learn about the negative impacts of cultural appropriation on Indigenous artisans and artists and to pledge to purchase only Indigenous crafts and art from authentic sources. Sign the pledge and share with your networks what it means to support #AuthenticIndigenousArts.
About This Challenge
Indigenous artisans and artists carry traditions and practices with them that reach back through the generations, but at the same time, they utilize modern materials and they express modern ideas through their work. Their inventiveness and drive to innovate allows authentic Indigenous forms to thrive in our modern contexts. However, cultural appropriation is such an entrenched problem in our country, that many of us look past it or don’t know how to look for it at all.
Cultural appropriation at its core is about taking away someone’s ability to share their own story. It’s theft and it’s about power imbalances. In the context of Indigenous artwork and craftswork, cultural appropriation means someone creating art or work that is integral to a particular community, and profiting off that work, without being a member of the community who created or cares for that art form.
Why Authentic Indigenous Arts?
Cultural appropriation is theft. It is taking elements of a culture of which you’re not a part, and deciding for yourself how to represent that culture to others, despite not fully understanding the context yourself. Indigenous culture, like all culture, is meant to be shared and enjoyed, but Indigenous artisans have to be the decision-makers of how their culture is shared. Right now our work is appropriated and devalued in both international and domestic markets. Our traditions and our cultural identity is stolen and packaged for consumers who are then robbed of the opportunity to actually engage with our cultures and to learn about our traditions honestly. There are no protections in place for Indigenous artisans in Canada, and as a result, our work is consistently undervalued.
Indigenous artists and artisans have helped to define the identities of our own Nations, and we have helped to define the identity of Canada as a whole. Our work is crucial part of the fabric of Canada, yet our work is so undervalued in the mainstream. Through this #Next150 challenge, I’m asking you to pledge to purchase only authentic Indigenous beadwork, craftwork, designs, and art. By taking this pledge and sharing it with your networks, you are making a promise to support the work of Indigenous artists and to stand up against cultural appropriation.
To begin, click "accept challenge" below and take the pledge! When you mark this challenge is done, you'll be presented with a graphic that you can share to social media.
Take The Pledge…
I recognize that cultural appropriation can occur in many ways, but at its core, cultural appropriation is about robbing someone of the right to tell their own story.
I understand that cultural appropriation hurts Canada; it hurts our collective understanding of history and community, and it hurts our ability to create positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. I recognize that cultural appropriation changes the way the world perceives us, and cheapens our integrity on the world stage.
I recognize that when products that are made to “look Indigenous” are mass produced outside of Canada and brought into our country to be sold to tourists or to domestic customers, we suffer from cultural appropriation.
When art forms and products that belong to Indigenous communities are taken and used to create profit for people not from those communities, we suffer from cultural appropriation.
When Indigenous artisans, craftspeople, and artists are shut off from markets, or their work becomes so devalued that they can no longer rely on their traditional practice to sustain their livelihood, we suffer from cultural appropriation.
I recognize that it’s wrong for non-Indigenous people to profit from Indigenous art forms that are traditional to and integral to particular communities’ cultural identities. I recognize that it’s wrong for people outside of a certain community to lay claim to particular art and styles that are created, nurtured, and cared for by specific Indigenous Peoples. I recognize that culture is made to be shared and celebrated, but that the communities who care for these art forms are the ones who should financially profit from that exchange.
I pledge to stand up against cultural appropriation in Canada in all forms, particularly, as it relates to Indigenous arts, craftwork, and design. I pledge to buy only Indigenous art, crafts and design by Indigenous artists and artisans who are from the community to which the art form belongs. I pledge to buy only #AuthenticIndigenousArts.
- Reclaim Indigenous Arts
- Sacred Fire Productions
- So much for reconciliation: Canadian maple syrup still has more protection than Indigenous art: National Observer
- Canada Council for the Arts confronts cultural appropriation in 'post-Truth and Reconciliation era': CBC
- Cultural Appropriation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada: Historica Canada
- Art, appropriation and the damaging economic effect on Indigenous artists
- Returning our voices to us: Policy Options
- 7 Myths about Cultural Appropriation DEBUNKED!: Decoded | MTV News
- Opinion: What is cultural appropriation?: Globe and Mail
- The do’s, don’ts, maybes, and I-don’t-knows of cultural appropriation: âpihtawikosisân
- Authentic Indigenous label promotes B.C. native artists: Vancouver Sun
Join others who have
accepted this challenge.
Nadine St-Louis is a social and cultural entrepreneur with Mi’kmaq, Acadian and Scottish roots. She is the founder and Executive Director of Sacred Fire Productions, a non-for-profit Indigenous Arts Organization and launched the ASHUKAN Cultural Space in 2015, a cultural and economic incubator in the heart of Old Montreal. Nadine has over 25 years of experience in management, community development, governance and works as an important leader in the development of an Indigenous economy through arts and culture. She holds a Baccalaureate in Fine Arts from Concordia University with a double major in Cinema and English Literature and is pursuing Graduate studies at l’Université de Montréal in the Art History Department.
"I challenge you to learn about the negative impacts of cultural appropriation on Indigenous artisans and artists and to pledge to purchase only Indigenous crafts and art from authentic sources. Sign the pledge and share with your networks what it means to support #AuthenticIndigenousArts."Read More