Capitalism and colonialism are so deeply intertwined that it seems that efforts to decolonize capitalist markets are necessarily doomed to failure. However, some Indigenous businesses do attempt to function according to decolonial and Indigenous values and principles, even though they exist within and interface with a larger capitalist context. This article examines such efforts in the Indigenous art market in Canada—a market that raises issues of both economic and cultural imperialism. It is based on fieldwork conducted in two contexts: (1) in Vancouver, British Columbia, with Northwest Coast artists and entrepreneurs whose objective is to gain greater control over the commodification of their cultural heritage, and (2) in the Upper Mauricie region of Québec with members of the Atikamekw Nehirowisiwok Nation who are working to develop their art market in a way that respects their values and nurtures their ways of life. These two examples provide ethnographic grounding to the following questions: What do on-the-ground attempts to decolonize and indigenize capitalist markets look like? What is the difference between making market relations "less colonial" and making them "more Indigenous," and what is the interplay between the two? To what extent can these processes cross over from reform to the actual dismantlement of colonial power structures and institutions?


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 306-338
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.