Report on First Native Arts and Cultures National Convening

Strengthening the Bones Report

(VANCOUVER, Wash.) – The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) has released a report on the “Strengthening the Bones” convening held in the fall of 2011 that brought together over 100 individuals representing a cross section of arts services organizations, cultural centers, museums, artists and artist collectives, foundation and government funding agencies to learn and build around the community of Native art.

The report outlines next steps and collaborations needed to build support systems, educational capacity and identify focus areas for arts organizations and leaders.

Over the course of two days, participants participated in plenary and breakout sessions focused on four primary objectives: to map and share individual strengths and priorities; to identify collective connections and energy; to identify strategies and action steps for supporting Native arts coalitions; and identify strategies and action steps for Native arts advocacy efforts. A wide variety of issues including evolution of Indigenous identity in the 21st century, strategies for sustaining arts and cultures in communities, and building the next generation of leadership in the arts were discussed.

T. Lulani Arquette, President and CEO of the Native Arts and Culture Foundation said, “This report highlights those moments we shared together and our strategies moving forward.  Through these efforts, we encourage our fellow funders to join us in considering new ways of investing in our communities, appreciating the contributions of Native art ways that uphold our people, bridging cultures and forging new found relationships and understanding.”

As keynote speaker, Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree) noted, “Art is a powerful medicine for the world” and participants agreed that Native art has the power to heal communities. The collective work of this convening has identified ways in which Indigenous artists can more adequately bring their medicine to the world.

Action steps called for nurturing artist success, development of leadership potential in arts institutions, mentorship of youth through arts, capacity building for Native art programming and community engagement, education and outreach within the field and among the general public.

To view full report, download the PDF version of the report.

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October 16, 2012

Media Only:
Rupert Ayton
(360) 314-2421


A 2012 report on Strengthening the Bones, the first national gathering of Native arts and cultures stakeholders convened by the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation in 2011.
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