A Native musician walking down a path in the mountains holding an acoustic guitar.

Investing in the Indigenous Arts Ecology

This report delves into the impact and evolution of First Peoples Fund's 25-year effort to enhance access to essential resources for Native artists, offering insights on effectively nurturing vibrant arts ecosystems within Native communities.

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about the report

In 2013 First Peoples Fund published the market study Establishing a Creative Economy: Art as an Economic Engine in Native Communities. Findings from that initial report shed light on the key resources that Native artists need in order to grow as entrepreneurs and cultural leaders — credit and capital, new markets, knowledge and training, informal networks, creative space and supplies.

The report set First Peoples Fund on a path to work strategically with artists and organizations in tribal communities to develop greater access to these critical resources. Our new report, Investing in the Indigenous Arts Ecology, describes the results of this strategic effort, and provides insight into how we, and others, can contribute to growing and thriving Indigenous arts ecosystems in communities across Indian country.

read the report
Anna Brown Ehlers (Tlingit) 2001 Community Spirit Award Honoree
Portrait of G. Peter Jemison (Seneca) dancing on stageAn instructor teaching a younger girl to hoop dance with two tipis in the background

First Peoples Fund defines the Indigenous Arts Ecology as a relationship-based, collective system of arts ecosystems. The Ecology is grounded in ancestral knowledge and is inclusive of environments, spirit, people and lifeways. Indigenous arts ecosystems are local or regional communities of individuals, formal and informal networks, resources, cultural infrastructure, and organizations and businesses that interact as a system and provide support to Indigenous artists and culture bearers. Indigenous arts ecosystems are led by the artists and culture bearers whose art and lives embody the values, traditions and aspirations of their communities.