RECLAIM INDIGENOUS ARTS
Get in touch with Reclaim Indigenous Arts to learn more about our work and how you can get involved.
THE PEOPLE BEHIND RECLAIM INDIGENOUS ARTS
Jay Soule aka CHIPPEWAR is an Indigenous multi-disciplinary artist from the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation (Deshkaan Ziibing Anishinaabeg) located twenty minutes south west of London, Ontario on the north bank of the Thames River.
Jay has been painting, clothing design, installation work and performance art for over 15 years. His work brings awareness to the importance of decolonizing worldviews and Indigenizing nonindigenous space and favours using pop art as a medium of expression, creating works that shift the gaze from stereotype to contemporary narratives.
Jay creates art under the name Chippewar, which represents the hostile relationship that Canada's native people's have with the government of the land they have resided in since their creation.
Chippewar is also a reminder of the importance of the traditional warrior role that exists in Indigenous cultures across North America that survives into the present day.
" END THE DIVIDE AND WE PROSPER "
Nadine St-Louis is an Aboriginal Entrepreneur of Mi'kmaq, Acadian and Scottish roots from the Gaspé Coast.
She has a BFA from Concordia University, with graduate studies in Art History at the University of Montreal and has over 25 years of business experience in management, community development and governance and has been an important leader in the development of Aboriginal economy through arts and culture in Quebec, Canada and abroad through cultural productions and innovative business models.
She is the founder and Executive Director of Sacred Fire Productions, a non-for-profit Aboriginal Arts Organization (2012) and has launched the ASHUKAN Cultural Space in 2015 which is an urban infrastructure dedicated to the development of Aboriginal arts and culture along with the art markets through professional development of artists, economic development through sales and a training component for entrepreneurial development in the arts.
SUPPORT INDIGENOUS ARTISTS
Please support authentic indigenous arts , crafts, jewelry, stone & wood carvings, fashion, etc.
Buy from the artists directly or from reputable Indigenous-owned or Indigenous-allied galleries and gift shops.
Are you a indigenous artist or craft maker?
One initiative of this campaign is to help secure work for the indigenous community by replacing knockoff objects with authentic indigenous made products.
Email us at email@example.com to add your name to our database.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
To all supporters of Indigenous arts and rights, we are asking you to participate in a letter campaign.
Demand Canada stop the importation and distribution of inauthentic, foreign-made indigenous arts and crafts.
Hold INAC responsible for returning Indigenous artifacts that were stolen between 1876 to 1951.
Demand the enforcement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by Canada in spring 2016.
Write your local city officials to demand they put bylaws in place to ban the sale of inauthentic “Indigenous” arts & crafts in your city.
Note: Toronto banned the sale of shark fin soup because of public outcry. We fully expect to achieve the same.
Simply print the PDF, fill in the blanks date & sign it, and then send it to the address provided.
We encourage schools and organizations to support this initiative.
LOCAL GIFT SHOP & GALLERIES
If you know of a local gift shop, museum gift shop, or art gallery selling inauthentic, Indigenous-themed arts or crafts, send them the letter requesting the immediate removal from their store shelves. This also includes art galleries selling art by non-Indigenous artists.
This letter can also be used to send to individual non-Indigenous artists reproducing or replicating Indigenous art. If they don't have a mailing address, simply copy and paste the PDF and send it to their email.
WHAT IS CULTURAL APPROPRIATION?
Cultural appropriation is when one person from one culture takes culturally distinct items, aesthetics or spiritual practices — and in this case artwork — from another culture and mimics it. They adopt it as their own without consent, permission or any cultural relationship to the object or practice, in order to make money or just because they admire it.
WHO DOES IT HURT AND WHY IS IT HARMFUL?
Every person in Canada is impacted when cultural appropriation is permitted. Cultural appropriation inherently undermines the unique beauty and importance of a culture or community of people, fueling social inequality and injustice. Due to colonial legislations in Canada, Indigenous people did not have legal access to markets until 1951 (Indian Act reform). To this day, Indigenous people continue to be excluded from a fair market available to Canadians, and in particular, within the economies of thriving urban centres.
Nearly 100% of Indigenous items sold in tourism, museum and gallery gift shops are produced by non-Indigenous workers, primarily in low-income countries. Not only does supporting manufacturing devalue Indigenous arts practices, it also makes consumers complicit in allowing cultural appropriation and unethical, low-wage labour to flood Canadian markets. This choice impedes the potential for sustainable participation of Indigenous artisans and traditional artistic practitioners in a fair, national economy.
The cultural sector is at present a significant contributor to our economy and has simultaneously become one of the means by which Indigenous artists are integrating themselves into urban environments.
Authenticity certification is integral in promoting and protecting Indigenous arts. Demanding authentic, Indigenous artworks in the retail, wholesale and tourism marketplaces supports a greater shift toward true reconciliation, and the respect of Indigenous traditions and practices.
Canada’s history is one of land appropriation followed by the systematic oppression, destruction, and exploitation of the cultures of Indigenous peoples. It is time to bring reconciliation to the Indigenous cultural economy and to put a stop to the importation of inauthentic “Indigenous items” and theft of cultural property.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Demand a ban on cultural appropriation. Do not purchase, gift or support the dissemination of inauthentic “Indigenous” products (moccasins, totems, masks, jewelry, beaded boxes, paintings) not made by Indigenous people. These items must be banned from entering Canada; there is no scenario in which these items should be sold, displayed or distributed.
Demand the implementation of mandatory cultural awareness-training programs to all Canadian tourism associations. These agencies benefit tremendously from tourists seeking access to Indigenous history, art and traditions, and impede cultural preservation.
Demand fines and penalties for tourist gift shops that sell inauthentic Indigenous items.
Demand a process to authenticate Indigenous artwork and products sold in galleries and stores throughout Canada to make sure artists are being fairly compensated for their work.
UN'S DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a document that describes both individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples around the world. To states, the UN, and other international organizations, UNDRIP offers guidance on cooperative relationships with Indigenous peoples based on the principles of equality, partnership, good faith and mutual respect. It addresses the rights of Indigenous peoples on issues such as:
RECLAIM INDIGENOUS ARTS
Reclaim Indigenous Arts was created as an awareness campaign and a Call to Action.
We are seeking supporters to END cultural appropriation in Canada. We see a direct link between the importation of internationally made “Indigenous” items, such as dream-catchers, masks, totems, statues, moccasins, images and other objects, and the devaluation of authentic, Indigenous art.
Help us put an end to Canada’s support of internationally made “knock-offs” by demanding active participation in, and development of, an authentic, traditional arts practice economy. Ensuring Indigenous people make all Indigenous cultural items allows our communities and artists to reclaim control and maintain agency over how our cultures are represented. We need your help if we are to protect and develop our cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and our exclusive rights to traditional cultural expressions.
We are also demanding that INAC enforce the repatriation of sacred objects and cultural artefacts that were stolen from Indigenous people across Canada during the forced assimilation policy. Forced assimilation, also known as the Indian Act, stated that all cultural practices, such as dancing, singing, ceremony and community gatherings like powwows, were deemed illegal from 1876 to 1951.
To all supporters of Indigenous arts and rights, we are asking you to participate in a letter campaign, requesting that Canada stop the importation, distribution, and sale of inauthentic “Indigenous” arts and crafts manufactured overseas.
We are demanding the enforcement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by Canada in spring 2016.
In light of the adoption of the Declaration and the government's commitment to “Reconciliation”, we are demanding a Call to Action from all levels of governments (municipal, provincial and federal) to put in place policies and actions that protect the rights of Indigenous people.
We want to reclaim the rights defined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:
Indigenous peoples have the right to practice 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.
States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.