In the Fall of 2006, before “Indigenous,” “reconciliation,” and “cultural capital” were buzzwords, before pots of money were thrown to the arts in celebration of colonial anniversaries (Quebec 400, Canada 150, Montreal 375), I was invited to design the back cover for an issue of Muse magazine. Frustrated by a museum director who unabashedly told me—in the presence of other people—that they wouldn’t exhibit my work because their white cube already did a ‘Native’ show, I was inspired. In reaction, my submission to Muse was red and white text on a field of black: WANTED. ABORIGINAL ARTISTS EXHIBITED EVERYWHERE. Fast forward to almost a decade later when another arts professional had just acquired some of my work for their public collection and unreservedly asked if I thought this would satisfy any outside perception of whether or not they have enough Native art. Of course it doesn’t. As Bridget Reweti and Léuli Eshraghi so succinctly wrote, “there needs to be a concrete commitment to Indigenous employment and participation [in and towards] holistic structural change,” not just one or two NDN bodies fulfilling statistics to our granting agencies, or serving on your boards so you can access Indigenous programming monies.
In 2015, during a conference around curatorial discourses and practices held at UQAM, I spoke about the lack of Indigenous curators and directors with permanent positions in our contemporary art institutions across Canada and in Quebec. I opened my talk with a quote from the “Indian Arts and Crafts” section of the Massey-Lévesque Commission published in 1951, which, through racist misinterpretation, tried to erase any possibility of future Indigenous peoples being culturally relevant artists. Here’s to proving them wrong. Here’s to staying power. Chi Mìgwetch to those who walk before me; to those who walk beside me; to those who walk behind me.
Nadia Myre is an artist and sometimes curator living in Montreal, QC.
 Remembering the Future: Questions About Indigenous Art’s Way Forward. Canadian Art, August 8, 2016. Accessed September 9, 2018 https://canadianart.ca/features/remembering-the-future/
 “[…] since the death of true Indian arts is inevitable, Indians should not be encouraged to prolong the existence of arts which at best must be artificial and at worst are degenerate... The impact of the white man with his more advanced civilization and his infinitely superior techniques resulted in the gradual destruction of the Indian way of life. The Indian arts thus survive only as ghosts or shadows of a dead society. They can never, it is said, regain real form or substance. Indians with creative talent should therefore develop it as other Canadians do, and should receive every encouragement for this purpose; but Indian art as such cannot be revived.”