Toronto _ Today, the Indigenous Screen Office in collaboration with APTN released the Building Trust and Accountability: Report on Indigenous Eligibility in the Indigenous Screen Sector. The report is authored by Indigenous-owned Archipel Research and Consulting.

The report was commissioned by the ISO and APTN after hearing from the Indigenous screen community that leadership was needed in determining consistent approaches to eligibility in the sector. This work began in January 2021 with the initial call for Letters of Interest, followed by extensive consultations, surveys and town halls.

“With input from the community and our Board of Directors, we are pleased to present this final report. But it is by no means the end of the conversation. In fact, this is the starting point for this work that we know will evolve as time goes on,” said Jesse Wente, Co-Executive Director for the ISO.

This report analyzes and explores considerations for eligibility, including definitions, and criteria needed to identify Indigenous applicants for the purposes of Indigenous-specific funding and support, and to develop policy recommendations and a framework for Indigenous-specific funding.

“As a founding member and partner of the Indigenous Screen Office, APTN was honoured to support the facilitation process for Indigenous specific opportunities in the screen sector,” said Monika Ille, CEO of APTN. “Sharing Indigenous cultures, languages and stories is sacred work and we remain committed to providing a platform for Indigenous Peoples to share their stories in their voices,” said Ille.

Five focus groups, 27 interviews and 173 survey responses were undertaken to complete this report. This undertaking represents Indigenous leadership and engagement in establishing Indigenous eligibility in the screen sector and ensuring that targeted funding and opportunities are directed to Indigenous storytellers.

“This report recognizes and works to honour that being an Indigneous storyteller comes with responsibilities to our families, communities, nations, and our people, ” said Sabre Pictou Lee, CEO and Co-Founder of Archipel Research and Consulting.

This report is an important next step towards Indigenous narrative sovereignty and the telling of our stories with integrity and honesty.

English copy: Building Trust and Accountability: Report on Indigenous Eligibility in the Indigenous Screen Sector.

French copy: Building Trust and Accountability: Report on Indigenous Eligibility in the Indigenous Screen Sector


In December 2020 the ISO issued a statement on the issue of identity. In part it read:

“The Indigenous Screen Office is aware of the issues of Indigenous identity that have recently been raised within the Indigenous screen sector.

As an Indigenous advocacy and funding organization with the mission of fostering Indigenous narrative sovereignty, the ISO takes such matters very seriously…

As an organization, the ISO supports First Nations, Métis and Inuit self-determination and the ability of sovereign nations to determine their own citizenship. We believe that knowing your connection to community and familial ties is an essential component of Indigenous identity. For so many Indigenous people who have been displaced from those connections as a result of colonial practices — including residential schools, Sixties Scoop, urban relocation and the foster care system — we know that this can be a long and difficult journey…

We recognize that for reasons both historic and contemporary, these issues are extremely sensitive and can be divisive. We recognize that great harm can be caused when space, resources and opportunities are taken by those with unconfirmed or contested connections to their Indigenous identity.”

The ISO fosters Indigenous narrative sovereignty by increasing support and representation of Indigenous Peoples throughout the screen industries.

APTN launched in 1999 as the world’s first national Indigenous broadcaster, creating a window into the remarkably diverse mosaic of Indigenous Peoples. A respected non-profit and charitable broadcaster, it’s the first of its kind in North America. The network is Sharing Our Stories of authenticity in English, French and a variety of Indigenous languages to over 10 million Canadian subscribers. With over 80% Canadian content, APTN connects with its audiences through genuine, inspiring and engaging entertainment on multiple platforms.