Indigenous communities in the Columbia Valley (Shuswap Indian Band, Akisqnuk First Nation, Columbia Valley Métis Association), local governments and heritage organizations will soon have access to funding for projects that spotlight the B.C.’s diverse cultural heritage.
The funding is administered through the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation and Heritage B.C. The First People’s Cultural Foundation is a registered charity that was established in 2000 to support the vitality of indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage across the province.
The 150 Time Immemorial grant program will open for an initial intake in fall 2021. Details on eligibility for project funding will be announced then. John Horgan’s majority NDP government is allotting $30 million to fund projects that educate people about B.C.’s colonial past, advance reconciliation and promote inclusivity and diversity for the province’s future. Indigenous communities, local governments and not-for-profit heritage organizations with an Indigenous or heritage mandate are eligible to submit applications starting in fall 2021.
“It has been 150 years since B.C. joined confederation, but the history of this place stretches back to time immemorial,” Josie Osborne said in a press release at the end of July. Osborne is B.C.’s minister of municipal affairs. “To heal and move forward together, it is important that everyone sees themselves reflected in B.C.’s heritage and cultural programs. Let’s reflect on our whole story and what we can do together to make B.C. an even better place for generations to come.”
The government is promising the program will support projects in B.C. communities focused on reconciliation “and building resiliency throughout the next 150 years and beyond, honouring B.C.’s diverse cultural heritage.”
Reconciliation can mean many things to many different people. This past National Indigenous Peoples (June 21), the B.C. Liberal Party issued a statement which included the following stance on the subject: “Reconciliation requires not only that we address the past head-on, but also look forward to creating a brighter future for everyone who calls this land home and celebrates the unique cultures, histories, traditions, and contributions of all 203 First Nations here in B.C.”
Melanie Mark, the current minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport, believes all British Columbians must acknowledge the province’s past and continue to move forward in the inclusive spirit of true and lasting reconciliation. “These grants will help communities further define B.C.’s diversity by sharing our many cultures,” she said when the funding was first announced.
James Rose, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer