FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting strongly condemns the Ontario government’s decision to slash the province’s Indigenous Culture Fund by $2.25 million.
“The Ford Government’s attack on Indigenous creators is completely unacceptable and must be reversed immediately”, says FRIENDS’ executive director and spokesperson, Daniel Bernhard. “First, Ford went after Franco-Ontarians. Now it’s Indigenous Ontarians. Which minority is he going to come for next?” Bernhard added.
Delivered through the Ontario Arts Council, which also saw its budget cut by almost 10%, the Indigenous Culture Fund was established in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Among its priorities is the support of Indigenous communities in building traditional culture and knowledge.
“Here’s the truth about reconciliation,” Bernhard says. “You don’t repair centuries of cultural aggression by cutting a fund that supports Indigenous peoples as they work to undo the damage.”
“It’s bad enough that our Federal government is doing nothing to require companies like Netflix to support Indigenous creators,” Bernhard continues. “The Ford government is moving us even further in the wrong direction as it tries to balance the budget on the backs of Ontario’s Indigenous peoples and other minorities. It’s a disgrace.”
“Slashing the Indigenous Culture Fund sends a clear message to our Indigenous communities. It says that Indigenous voices don’t matter, Indigenous cultures don’t matter, and Indigenous stories are simply not worth telling, let alone supporting,” says Bernhard.
“We stand firmly in support of Indigenous communities and storytellers throughout Canada and the world, and we call on the Ford government to restore the Indigenous Culture Fund immediately.”