INDIGENOUS ARTIST MANIFESTO
1. First and foremost, we are artists, craftspeople, thinkers, writers, speakers, and humans.
2. Our status as Indigenous is determined by our own communities – it is not determined by the colonialist government or other representatives.
3. We reserve the right to refer to ourselves as we see fit.
4. We refuse to declare any nationality as determined by the dominant culture.
5. The boundaries between craft and art shall not be categorized.
6. Ideas of traditional versus contemporary are of no significance to us.
7. We refuse to become commodified objects or to be observed as a spectacle.
8. We refuse to be subject to ethnographic or anthropological study.
9. The approval of the buying market in the creation of our works shall not be sought.
10. We reserve the right to sell our works to the buyer directly, without a middle-man or third-party.
11. We reserve the right to determine if our work is "authentic" or not.
12. We shall actively contribute to the telling and rewriting of history on our own terms.
13. Our art shall no longer be exhibited separately, as categorically Other, in any cultural institution.
14. Art co-operatives shall be run by our people, for our people.
15. Entry to cultural institutions where our work is being shown shall be free of charge for our fellow community members.
16. We reserve the right to our own spirituality and to maintaining sacred protocol, which we can withhold from the public and from general enthusiasts for the safety of our community.
17. We reserve the rights to our heritage, our cultural symbolisms, and to the representation of our culture in the public sphere.
18. Our work shall not be appropriated.
19. We as people shall not be appropriated.
20. We shall remain culturally autonomous and strive forward in our self-determination.
21. We reserve the right to prioritize parenthood, family, and community before other obligations, at no detriment to our profession or practice.
22. Items or works belonging to our ancestors that are currently being held in any cultural institution or collection shall be returned to our communities, without stipulation and on our terms, upon our request.
23. We will defend our land and the rights to our land above all else.
24. Our works shall not be included in exhibitions or collections solely on the basis of improving the cultural institution's policy on "diversity".
25. Take everything seriously, take nothing seriously. [d]
26. Women should be at the forefront of our conversations. Now is a time for men to sit back and listen. [w]
27. Support of work by indigenous practitioners should not occur at the expense of an engagement with local indigenous communities. Works of indigenous art shall not be made to take up psychic space that could otherwise be used for the necessary engagement with local indigenous communities. [r]
28. Cultural institutions should both support the work of indigenous artists and reflexively consider how they are implicated in the process of displacement and gentrification. [r]
29. The notion of singular authorship should be challenged.
30. Colonial ideas of gender, gender roles, and sexuality must be challenged. This includes what may be perceived as tradition.
31. We may not have answers but we must ask questions.
32. As cultural practitioners and creative beings, we reserve the right to refuse the role of "educator" on Indigenous issues, especially when it derails the discussion at hand and when that information can be sought elsewhere.
33. We will acknowledge the work and contributions of those who came before us.
34. More opportunities should be created for indigenous curators and writers within cultural institutions.
This text is intended to be open-source. For now, please email me your additions, suggestions, revisions etc. and I will update accordingly.