The following is a statement on behalf of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, regarding recent proposals to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, among other agencies critical to the vitality and growth of arts and cultures in the United States.

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) is a national charitable organization whose mission is to strengthen, revitalize, and increase appreciation for American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native arts and cultures. There are over 566 federally recognized Native American tribes, 62 state recognized tribes, and almost 500,000 Native Hawaiians in our nation. Our work includes promoting the values and exemplary work of Native American artists and organizations in contemporary society.

A multitude of research has summarized studies correlating arts training and practice with improved cognitive capacity and academic performance. When children participate in arts classes in school, they do better in other subjects. Seniors who practice art have increased levels of cognitive ability, and families who engage in arts together develop healthier relationships. In Native communities, arts help keep our cultures alive.

The current proposed budget request to Congress for FY 2019 completely eliminates funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The elimination of these four core federal agencies will have a detrimental impact on creative opportunities and education for American families, and will send a message to the world that Americans do not value their culture, their creative edge, and their history.

For over 50 years, every United States President has supported these federal agencies. They efficiently coordinate and incentivize activities between states and regions, provide leadership in the areas of national research and data collection, and give a nationwide focus to preserving and promoting America’s rich cultural history and art forms. It is crucial that all four of these agencies are funded so that may continue to enrich the great intercultural fabric of this nation.

  1. The NEA is the single largest national funder of nonprofit arts in America. NEA grants help leverage more than a 9 to 1 match in private charitable gifts and other state and local public funding.
  2. With only a $150 million current annual budget, the NEA investments in the arts helps contribute to a $730 billion economic arts and culture economic industry, including 4.2 percent of the annual GDP and supporting 4.8 million jobs that yields a $26 billion trade surplus for the country.

We strongly support the continuation of the NEA’s work by maintaining its allocation of funds.

Thank you for taking our views into account.

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