Provincial Government Announces Employment Project to Remunerate Aboriginal Artists

The following is excerpted from a press release issued by the Government of British Columbia.

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A new employment project in Chilliwack will prepare up to 24 unemployed residents of the Fraser Valley for careers in manufacturing and support an innovative royalty remuneration system for Aboriginal artists.

The Province is providing over $600,000 to Stó:lō Nation to deliver the 52-week program. Participants will learn skills and safety procedures on high-tech equipment to produce fine copy replicas of artwork by local Aboriginal artists on items such as clothing, glassware, wood and leather materials. Participants will also receive follow-up support, preparing them with the tools they need to gain employment in manufacturing, an industry in need of skilled labour.

Participants will also gain work experience with Stó:lō Nation partners, Monague Native Crafts and White Feather Tissue and Towel. At Stó:lō Nation’s social enterprise Nations Creations, they will manufacture and ship the replica artwork. Stó:lō Nation established the social enterprise after recognizing that local Aboriginal artists need a different way of doing business. Typically artists will sell their designs to manufacturers who produce and import replicas from overseas and pay a single fee to the artist up front for their design. Stó:lō Nation wants to help change the compensation structure by offering royalty payments to artists, benefitting them and their families with sustainable revenue over time. Every time a replica of an artist’s work is sold by Nations Creations, they will earn a portion of that revenue. For this project, Nations Creations will source all of its artwork from Aboriginal artists, from the Lower Mainland and beyond.  

Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation funding is provided through the Project-Based Labour Market Training stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program, which funds projects that increase employability levels and share labour market information.

The ministry recently added a social innovation component to CEP, which expands the scope of the program to support innovative projects that address social challenges beyond unemployment. Nations Creations by Stó:lō Nation is the first social enterprise to participate under the new focus of the program.

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