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Ontario Arts Council


Erika Iserhoff

Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​​​​​​1-800-387-0058 ext. 7454

Indigenous Culture Fund: Project Grants for Individuals, Groups and Collectives

This program has been suspended.

The Indigenous Culture Fund (ICF) was created to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, culture and way of life. It was created through a process of extensive outreach and collaboration with Indigenous communities across Ontario. The fund was administered by the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), on behalf of the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS).


This program supported large scale, community-based Indigenous culture and way of life projects in Ontario undertaken by First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, youth councils, ad hoc groups and collectives. Eligible activities supported the program priorities (see below) and fit into one of the five project types:

Community/Culture/Way of Life: community-engagement social and/or ceremonial activities that transfer traditional knowledge and skills through participation and experience. Examples:
  • organizing a cultural camp where Elders, language speakers and knowledge keepers take youth out on the land and share their teachings
  • hosting a gathering where traditional medicines and harvesting teachings are shared with community members

Indigenous Language Projects: language revitalization projects, including workshops and classes. Examples:

  • running Indigenous language immersion classes in the community
  • participating in an Indigenous workshop, program or class as an individual learner

Cultural Research, Documentation, Tools and Resources: research, documentation and development of materials to support cultural awareness and traditional knowledge. Examples:

  • developing a protocols tool-kit that will support archaeological digs in the community
  • researching and documenting stories about the local community and land to share with future generations

Cultural Mentorship or Learning: projects involving training and mentorship in cultural knowledge or activities. Examples:

  • a master birch bark canoe maker mentors an emerging maker on traditional techniques for a period of time
  • a community group offers family and all-ages drumming workshops

Youth: culture projects designed for and/or by Indigenous youth to enhance their knowledge of and access to land-based activities, traditional skills, teachings and Indigenous protocols. Examples:

  • a Métis youth council organizing a community rendezvous that features workshops such as jigging lessons, trap setting, traditional food cooking and how to finger weave sashes
  • a culture camp organized by an urban Indigenous organization for youth to learn and participate in traditional Indigenous land-based activities and ceremonies not available to them in the city


The priorities of all Indigenous Culture Fund (ICF) programs were to support:

  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis community-based cultural projects
  • opportunities for Indigenous people and communities to build traditional culture and knowledge capacity
  • projects that improve the applicant’s ability to learn, access, practice and engage in traditional Indigenous land-based activities, languages, teachings, protocols and ceremonies
  • Indigenous cultural knowledge exchange between generations and communities
  • youth-led and/or youth-engaged cultural projects
  • Elder-led and/or Elder-engaged cultural projects

Note: For art presentations or exhibitions that are contemporary and/or do not involve culture and community in the creation and delivery, see OAC’s Indigenous Arts Projects program.

Deadline dates

This program has been suspended.

Grant amount(s)

  • Short-term Projects (up to 18 months in length): maximum $30,000
  • Long-term Projects (between 18-36 months in length): maximum $60,000

Eligible applicants

  • status and non-status First Nations, Inuit, or Métis individuals
  • Indigenous ad hoc groups, collectives and youth councils made up of at least 60 per cent Indigenous individuals
  • applicants must work or operate in Ontario and have a permanent physical address in Ontario
Read the Indigenous Culture Fund Terms and Conditions for more eligibility information.

  • Applicants were eligible to receive  one Indigenous Culture Fund Project Grant in a year. The limit of one per year was based on the date of the application deadline, not on the date the grant payment is received.
  • Applicants were eligible to receive two Indigenous Culture Fund Small Grants and one Indigenous Culture Fund Project Grant in addition to other OAC project or operating grants. However, the same activities could not be funded by both OAC and ICF. See Guide to OAC’s Project Programs.

Ineligible applicants

This program funds

  • administrative, programming, material, equipment and technical costs or fees to implement the proposed project
  • childcare costs for project staff and participants
  • honourariums for Elders, traditional knowledge keepers and language teachers

Note: Applicants may apply for up to 100 per cent of the project costs, but were encouraged to seek revenue from a variety of sources where possible.

This program does not fund

  • powwow competitions (traditional powwows and special projects within powwows were eligible)
  • individual artists applying with arts creation projects (See OAC’s Indigenous Arts Projects program)
  • arts presentations or exhibitions that are contemporary and/or do not involve culture and community in the creation and delivery (see OAC’s Indigenous Arts Projects program)
  • ongoing organizational operating costs
  • purchase of land or real estate
  • permanent infrastructure and/or capital expenses/improvements
  • economic development initiatives
  • cultural tourism
  • professional and staff development
  • scholarships and bursaries
  • personal expenses

Activity timing

  • The activity for which you requested funding:
    • cannot start before the deadline
    • cannot finish before you receive your grant results
  • Short-term project grants were issued in one payment; the project must be completed no more than two years after you received the grant notification.
  • Long-term projects are divided into two phases and grants are issued in two payments. No more than 50 per cent of the total grant was paid out in a phase one. An interim report on phase one is required one year after you receive your grant results and must be approved before the second payment will be issued. The project must be completed no more than three years after you receive the grant results.

Final report requirements

If you received a grant you must submit a final report upon completion of the project. A final report form will be available in Nova. Final reports for this program require grant recipients to provide:

  • description of the project undertaken and its outcomes, including details on any minor or approved changes to what had been outlined in the application
  • final budget
  • an explanation of how you acknowledged OAC support for your project; see Indigenous Culture Fund Logos and Acknowledgment for further instructions
  • documentation of the project (optional)

To apply

For information on how assessors rate applications see the Indigenous Culture Fund Project Grants Assessment Criteria.