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Christi Belcourt @christibelcourt
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Let me tell you about arts grants & how they help the economy.

My very first grant application was to the @CanadaCouncil for the Arts. In my application I wrote ‘my hope is one day I will be ably to make a career of the arts, & won’t need arts funding.’

I cried when I got it.
That was in the year 2000 I believe. Since then I applied for and received a number of arts grants through the @CanadaCouncil, the @ONArtsCouncil.

Today I employ people and I pay a shit load of taxes and donate to hundreds of social justice causes and donate my time as well.
Arts grants build careers.

But they also help to rebuild communities.

Particularly for Indigenous communities who have been devastated and practically decimated by Canada.

Indigenous arts are important for their own people, for Canada and for the world.
In various capacities we have also received grants in Collectives from @CanadaCouncil & @ONArtsCouncil

Grants have enabled us to engage Elders and Youth together in a variety of learning environments and creativity.

AND money we received went straight back into the economy.
This is an important point often missed by those who dismiss arts grants as something frivolous.

Where does the money go when a person or a collective receives arts grants?
1. Canadian based suppliers and retailers. 2. Canadian based businesses, landlords or utilities.
Arts grants go right back into the Canadian economy.

And more than that, they help to build careers, of people like me who pay a shit load of taxes, and they build communities and independence. For Indigenous people they help to build back ourselves and our health.
So when @fordnation cut the Indigenous Culture Fund, he hurt the Canadian economy. He is actually saying that Canadian businesses don’t matter and that he doesn’t want to see Indigenous people Independent, thriving or healthy. And perhaps that’s the point.
When you cut out the arts you are attempting to cut out strong independent voices who may call your policies into question. You create appearance of austerity so wealth can be further shifted to the wealthy, because it suits your larger political agenda. We see you. And it’s ugly
I can create a 12 foot painting but apparently still can’t tweet without making spelling mistakes lol.
Keeping Indigenous communities impoverished is a long standing strategy of successive governments. Indigenous populations that are wealthy may do things like say “No” to destructive resources extraction on their territories. Poverty politics is as old as Constitution.
We might also start insisting that we get our stolen land back and such things.

Empowered Indigenous communities doesn’t fit with the narrative Canada has created.
And so they do this thing, they create grants that give us hope, then they take them away. The grants never quite reach their potential. It’s never long term, reliable funding that would really make huge differences. They tinker around the edges of empowerment.
Thank goodness we are resilient.
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