Manifesto for the advancement of Indigenous arts, artists, and arts organizations in Québec

Tuesday 23 January 2018

“Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.”
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, art.11,
Whereas the Indigenous arts in Kanata and Kébeq have boomed in recent decades with the production of seminal works;

Whereas Indigenous artists have the responsibility of sparking awareness, revitalizing their cultures, inspiring, and encouraging their communities to enhance their well-being—in short, of piloting the transformations essential to the future of their nations;

Whereas our viewpoints, dreams, visions, and utopias contribute to a collective vision of what is needed for the advancement of Indigenous arts and artists in Kébeq;

Whereas the situation of Indigenous artists and arts organizations is precarious;

Whereas Indigenous artists and arts organizations hold the legitimate right to self-determination;

Whereas on May 17-18, 2017, Ondinnok called Indigenous artists in all disciplines and representatives of the principal Aboriginal arts organizations to a summit meeting in Montréal, a State of Affairs on Indigenous Arts in Québec, before witnesses from the media and arts funding bodies.

We, Indigenous artists and arts organizations in Kebeq, publish this manifesto that summarizes the discussions, conclusions, and demands issuing from our gathering. It constitutes, and will remain a testimonial to the presence and affirmation of Indigenous arts in Québec. We see this manifesto as a key to eliminate the gap that exists between Indigenous arts in Kebeq and those in the rest of Kanata, and also between Indigenous and non-Indigenous arts in Québec itself. It is a key to help Indigenous arts to flourish at the centre of Kebeq’s artistic and culture development, to invent perspectives of arts development both inside and outside the reserves. A key to open the door to a future where our youth can plant themselves in their culture and grow.

As the provincial government prepares to adopt a new cultural policy, and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, and other agencies throughout the regions are becoming increasingly sensitive to the need for programs adapted to the cultural and artistic realities of Indigenous artists, we must keep in mind that without adequate financial means, the best intentions fall flat. Most importantly, we, as Indigenous artists and arts organizations, must affirm our self-determination and make clear demands to implement all the changes required to advance Indigenous arts and artists in Kébeq.