Indigenous Arts


Cultural appropriation

Out-of-context use, borrowing or transformation of elements (writings, symbols, concepts, knowledge, rituals, signs, customs, life experience, etc.) belonging to a racialized, marginalized or oppressed culture by a member of the dominant culture.

This is done without authorization, in a manner that can be seen as offensive, abusive or inappropriate and that harms the culture of origin by divorcing the appropriated element from its essence by its dilution and by falsely presenting an ersatz element as if it were genuine.

Sources (In French): Appropriation culturelle et les peuples autochtones: Entre protection du patrimoine et liberté de création, GRIAAC and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, United Nations, March 2008 (article 11)



Indigenous, Black and People of Colour.


Adjective describing members of the first populations (First Peoples) of an area. In Canada, this includes First Nations, Inuit and Métis. This term is used to describe the philosophy, culture, cosmology and rights of these First Peoples, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Source: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, March 2008

Indigenous artists - First Nations, Inuit, Métis

In the context of the Conseil des arts de Montreal’s programs, this term refers to First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists living in Montreal who are recognized by their peers or by their community as artists committed to the continued practice of their art and art form – whether traditional or contemporary – and who distinguish themselves by their works and their potential through the creation and diffusion of original works of art.

Indigenous artists’ collective

For the Conseil des arts de Montréal’s Indigenous Arts Committee, this term refers to a one-time collaboration between at least two professional Indigenous artists with the goal of carrying out a common project requiring complementary or multiple practices and knowledge. A collective is not a legal entity and involves a project lead who acts on behalf of the collective.

Indigenous arts

Artistic practices recognized by Indigenous communities. Indigenous arts make up a full spectrum of artistic practices, whether they be sacred or ceremonial, traditional or contemporary, practiced collectively, by amateurs or professionals, or situated in between these various modes. “Art is not a specific thing. Art is process, movement and experience.”

Source: Aboriginal Arts Research Initiative, by France Trépanier for the Canada Council for the Arts, 2008

Indigenous arts organization

Non-profit organization headquartered in Quebec that offers artistic and professional services or activities. The organization’s Board of Directors must have a majority of Indigenous directors (First Nations, Inuit, Métis) who live in Quebec.

It must have a hiring policy that encourages hiring Indigenous employees, and leadership roles – especially director positions, such as executive director or artistic director – must be occupied by Indigenous individuals.

Indigenous cultural worker (effective or in training)

Indigenous individual currently, previously, or aspiring to occupy a coordinator, director or artistic director position within a professional or cultural entity (arts centre, cultural centre, professional association, museum, contemporary arts centre, event, gallery).

Indigenous intern

Indigenous individual learning about the experience of artistic practice or a professional career in the arts.

Indigenous mentor

Person who maintains a relationship based on accompaniment, collaboration and exchange. This could be a relationship with an Elder, an Indigenous person with professional experience within an arts or cultural organization or with a leader of an Indigenous community.

The mentor provides confidential professional or personal support to an Indigenous individual with less experience in a non-Indigenous or Indigenous context.

Inuit, Inuk, Inuuk

Inuit refers to an Indigenous People living mainly in the Northernmost part of North America. Inuk is singular and Inuuk is dual (designating two people). When there are more than three individuals, the correct term is Inuit. In Inuktitut, the word Inuit means “people.” The preferred usage is therefore “Inuit,” without the determiner, and not “the Inuit.”


Racialized person

Person likely to be labelled in a racial category or perceived as being “other” and not belonging to the majority group. This term does not describe a quality inherent to a person, but a social characteristic: not an identity, but a position in society resulting from the collective process of racialization.

Source (in French): Comprendre les enjeux de l’inclusion en danse, Regroupement québécois de la danse, p.12