Considering Cultural Appropriation

As the national arts service organization for craft in Canada, the CCF/FCMA encourages artists and the public alike to embrace and value the artistic, economic, historic, contemporary, and social significance of craft. This is no easy feat, particularly in a country as broad and diverse as Canada. The history of this land influences and informs our contemporary experiences, and with this in mind, we recognize that craft practices are intrinsically tied to the past, present, and future.

This blog post takes one small step toward encouraging thoughtful and informed consideration and action regarding the harm of cultural appropriation in craft. We encourage craft artists working in all mediums to become informed about the impact and effects of cultural appropriation and to evaluate, as well as critically reflect upon, their own practices.

In order to amplify the voices of experts, the CCF/FCMA is pleased to share the following external resources as basic guides toward further information and insights. There is an extensive amount of information available on this topic and we encourage you to take a deep dive into the material that is available at your fingertips:


Simon Fraser University Project – Think Before You Appropriate: A Guide for Creators and Designers 

Ontario Arts Council Video – Indigenous Arts Protocol

Studio Article – Moving Beyond a Modern Craft

Canadian Art Article – Dirty Words: Appropriation 

The Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network Indigenous Ally Toolkit

Canada Council for the Arts Policy 

Culture Days Guide – Indigenous Cultural Programming


Looking for more? There are also many excellent organizations who conduct innovative and informative programming, and who promote the work of diverse artists in Canada. Connect with the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, Inuit Art Foundation, Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario, and countless others working in your local community.

Society at large has taken many steps toward improving recognition, particularly through the many Truth & Reconciliation reports, as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. However, there is so much further to walk. The CCF/FCMA encourages everyone to be informed on the impact of cultural appropriation, and strive to be an active consumer of authentic craft. By experiencing, appreciating, recognizing and engaging with the vast range of work made by the many First Nations, Métis, Inuit, visible minority and immigrant cultures that make up the beautiful mosaic of craft in Canada, we all benefit. 


Our sincere thanks to Charles Smith and Greg Toole for their contributions to this post.