Indigenous Arts in Toronto
The Toronto Public Art Strategy (2020–2030) is built on the understanding and recognition that the City of Toronto is situated on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples, and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Williams Treaty signed with multiple Mississaugas and Chippewa bands. Public art can be an evocative entry point into this conversation—helping to restore visibility to Toronto’s Indigenous communities, creating a greater sense of place and belonging, and sparking dialogue about the legacy of colonialism, and a shared path forward.
Indigenous Arts & Culture Partnerships Fund
The City of Toronto's Indigenous Arts and Culture Partnerships Fund supports partnerships and collaborations that create new opportunities and visibility for Indigenous-led arts and culture. The fund aims to spark new relationships between Indigenous artists, arts and culture leaders and professionals, and potential partners at both the grassroots and institutional levels.
The 2021 application deadline for the Indigenous Arts and Culture Partnerships Fund is September 30 at 5 p.m.
Image credit: 2018 Indigenous Arts Festival at Fort York National Historic Site
Indigenous Affairs Office
The City of Toronto's Indigenous Affairs Office (IAO) is focused on supporting City divisions in their work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and all urban Indigenous communities. While the City remains committed to embedding the responsibility for Indigenous priorities across City divisions, the IAO will provide more focused and coordinated leadership on Indigenous affairs. Toronto has the largest Indigenous population in Ontario, and the 4th largest Indigenous population of any city in Canada.
Image credit: Indigenous Affairs Office
We Were Always Here
We Were Always Here ― A Portrait in Red (A film by Alexandra Lazarowich) deals with themes such as the ongoing colonial violence against Indigenous Women and the environment, intergenerational trauma, and drowning. Experience Toronto’s many stories through the Awakenings program, a series of art projects created within Toronto History Museums by Black, Indigenous and artists of colour, operating under the principles of anti-oppression, anti-colonialism, and anti-racism.
Image credit: A Portrait in Red by Alexandra Lazarowich, part of Awakenings
Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The City of Toronto is working with the local Indigenous community to develop the Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ICIE). The ICIE is a space designed to give the Indigenous community an opportunity to explore their entrepreneurial aspirations by providing space, business programming, advisory services, mentorship supports, shared co-workspace, community event space and connections to business networks.
Image credit: Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto
Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (IFWTO) is a fashion, craft & textiles festival presenting the most distinct and progressive Indigenous-made works. IFWTO celebrates global Indigenous expression in fashion and the arts and its grounding in Indigenous knowledge, ways of life and storytelling. Led by majority Indigenous women, IFWTO connects audiences to artistic and cultural expression that celebrates and advances Indigenous artists and designers.
Image credit: Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto
The IRSS Legacy Project
The IRSS Legacy Project responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Call to Action 82: to commission and install a publicly accessible, highly visible, Residential Schools Monument in each capital city to honour Survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities. In fall 2017, the south-west corner of Nathan Phillips Square was identified as the ideal location for this sculpture through the engagement of residential school survivors and the wider Indigenous community.
Image credit: The IRSS Legacy Project
7th Generation Image Makers
The interdisciplinary arts and media program at Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST). Since 1996, 7th Generation Image Makers has provided urban Aboriginal youth with access to high quality arts programming and professional arts training in a culturally supportive environment. We maintain a talented collective of professional artists who often return as artist facilitators and mentors.
Image: Still from short film by Sean Stiller for 7th Generation Image Makers
Watch the ArtworxTO Land Acknowledgement by Philip Coté