SK Arts and Canadians celebrate June as National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous People's Day on June 21, 2023. As residents of Treaties two, four, five, six and ten, we celebrate the richness of indigenous culture and its profound impact on Saskatchewan. There is no better representation of this impact than within Canada and Saskatchewan's arts and culture.

In doing its part, SK Arts has been working to create better access to funding for Indigenous artists and the inclusion of Indigenous artwork in the Permanent Collections as an appropriate level of representation. We move for more inclusive practices as we continue to work towards reconciliation and healing. Here are some of the things we're doing.



Sedna and her Ulus, Sheila Orr, 1998


The Indigenous Peoples Art and Artists Program

The Indigenous Peoples Art and Artists program SK Arts has been operating since 2004. Although the program has changed names a few times over the years, its purpose remains — to support the development and continuation of the Indigenous peoples' art forms in Saskatchewan. 

Recognizing that the previous assessment criteria could facilitate Eurocentric training dominance biases, SK Arts re-constructed the IPAA assessment rubric — placing greater emphasis on cultural connections. 

The changes were positively received in the most recent IPAA peer review panel. The granting decisions reflected the staff goals for this revision of the assessment criteria, so we were pleased with the panel outcome.

Read more bout the Indigenous Peoples Art and Artists program here.


The Share and Connect: Indigenous Community Arts Program

Supported by funding from Sask Lotteries through the partnership between SK Arts and SaskCulture Inc., the Share and Connect: Indigenous Community Arts program launched in early 2023. The program funds up to $20,000 (*conditions vary) and the assessment considerations were set by the Indigenous principles.

The program, with deadlines in January and June, is aimed at:

    • Share Indigenous arts and cultural revitalization within Indigenous communities and with broader communities.
    • Increase the intergenerational transfer of Indigenous artistic knowledge and cultural practices within contemporary, traditional, and non-traditional art forms.
    • Promote Truth and Reconciliation in non-Indigenous communities through exposure to these projects and this work
    • Align with the mandate and strategic priorities of SK Arts and our program partners.

The program allows Indigenous artists and communities to share and connect through planning support, mentorships with established Indigenous artists, and partnerships, exhibitions, performances and presentations with communities and organizations.


The reviews of the assessment criteria for both programs resulted in a strong uptake.


Hooked, Donna the Strange, 2022. Photo courtesy of the artist

The Permanent Collection

Each year, more Indigenous work from the collection is being loaned, rented and toured. In 2021, SK Arts put out a call for indigenous craft. From that call, SK Arts purchased 31 pieces for the Permanent Collection. 

A tour of some of these objects, developed in partnership with the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC) and Sâkêwêwak First Nations Artists' Collective, will begin in the fall. It is curated by Indigenous curator, Holly Aubichon, and should be available for initial viewing and bookings at OSAC’s fall showcase this October.

Additionally, some of the agency's most recent acquisitions include Indigenous artists, such as Donna The Strange, John Henry Fine Day Earl Mckay and Sheila Orr.