Looking Back at a Successful Year Inspires Us for the Road Ahead

Gordon Larin, Executive Director, First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation

February 9, 2023

We’re just over a year into the UN International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032 , and last year was full of exciting developments for the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation.  

Our vision is that Indigenous languages, arts, cultures, and heritage are strong, supported, and being passed on from generation to generation. To that end, we support First Nations communities and organizations in B.C. to rebuild cultural systems impacted by colonization in a way that respects Indigenous self-determination.  

Last year, we…

  • participated in the global and Canadian launch events for the Decade in partnership with UNESCO and CCUNESCO and in action planning for the Decade
  • sponsored the creation of 13 new language revitalization plans which help B.C. First Nations communities to map out the future they envision for their languages
  • contributed to the launch of the Youth Empowered Speakers (YES) Program to support more B.C. First Nations youth to learn and teach their languages in community
  • provided over $6m to fund the rebuilding of Indigenous cultural heritage infrastructure and the reclaiming of our arts traditions and practices
  • presented at national and international events on the need to transform higher education systems and science to elevate and integrate Indigenous Knowledge, perspectives, and people to benefit Indigenous learners and communities
  • grew relationships and established partnerships that uphold Indigenous rights to decide the best pathways for revitalizing our languages, arts, and cultures
  • have seen a significant increase in individual giving 
  • received a historic $5m endowment from the Province of B.C. and a $3m unrestricted gift from the MasterCard Foundation to support new and expanded activities for Indigenous language, arts, and cultural revitalization

We are grateful to our contributors and allies in this work, which translates into measurable progress and outcomes.  

Our journey continues. Looking forward, this year we plan to… 

  • expand funding for programs that protect and support the transfer of Indigenous cultural knowledge between generations
  • work to provide all First Nations in B.C. with opportunities for language learning
  • improve accessibility of B.C. First Nations languages by enhancing the suite of digital technology tools on the FirstVoices online platform while also funding training programs for language documentation
  • continuing to actively engage in the Decade of Indigenous Languages by sharing knowledge with other language champions, partnering with UNESCO and other organizations, and contributing to planning to mobilize coordinated action in B.C., Canada, and worldwide to protect and accelerate the resurgence of Indigenous languages 
  • lift up Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and people actively involved in cultural revitalization efforts in B.C. through First Peoples’ Cultural Council programs funded by the Foundation
  • continue advocating for a new trust-based model of philanthropy, which recognizes Indigenous sovereignty and decision-making capacities  
  • develop new partnerships and grow philanthropic investments into Indigenous-led cultural revitalization

All of this is will be made possible thanks to contributions from partners and donors to uplift the work of Indigenous peoples to become fluent in their languages, practice their arts, and revitalize their unique cultural traditions for generations to come.  

We invite you to join the movement and contribute to Indigenous cultural vitality. Donate to the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation.