Supporting Native American Arts, a New Foundation

A first of its kind, the newly created Native Arts and Cultures Foundation will work to support Native American artists.  The Oregon based foundation hopes to  provide $4 million in grants and other support for native arts over the next 5 years, beginning in late 2009 or early 2010.  The foundation was established by an initial grant of $10 million from the Ford Foundation, which had conducted a study in 2006 revealing the absence of such support for indigenous arts.

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation will support to artists who are members of diverse communities including Native Hawaiians and Alaskans, and American Indians.  Planning for the foundation began in 2007 and came to fruition, officially opening for business this week.  The foundation will support both traditional and contemporary arts, including visual and performing arts.

“It’s a testament to the tenacity of our people that we have any native cultures or religions left in the United States. We are seeing a remarkable cultural renaissance in the tribal communities. But the support of the arts has been almost nil. It’s been very difficult for Indian tribes to also support their own arts and cultures,” said Walter Echo-Hawk, as reported the NY Times.  Mr. Echo-Hawk is the Chairman and creator of the foundation.

The establishment of the foundation represents a significant step in preserving the cultural heritage of the indigenous people of North America.  Tara Lulani Arquette, President and Chief Executive says, “In a sense, it’s part of our quest for self-determination and restoring our sovereignty.”  (NY Times) 


New Group Is Formed to Sponsor Native Arts  (NYT) 

Foundation to Support Nation’s Tribal Arts (The Oregonian/Associated Press) 


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