NEWS RELEASE – Feb 25, 2022
First Peoples’ Cultural Heritage Fund
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2022
Province Awards First-Ever Indigenous Cultural Heritage Endowment
Long-Term Investment Promotes Reconciliation
Indigenous Cultural Vitality
W̱JOȽEȽP, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF W̱SÁNEĆ NATION / BRENTWOOD BAY, B.C.
The First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation (the Foundation) has established an endowment fund to create opportunities for First Nations communities in B.C. to protect, share, and revitalize their unique cultures.
The $5-million endowment is the first the B.C. government has given to an Indigenous-led charitable society to support Indigenous cultural heritage. The funding is part of the provincial government’s 150 Time Immemorial program, which advances reconciliation and learning to promote a diverse and inclusive society.
“As Indigenous Peoples, cultural heritage shapes our existence, identities, expression, and our ways of living and we pass the knowledge on from generation to generation. It is critical for our health and well-being but continues to be threatened,” said John Haugen, interim board chair of the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation. “This endowment is important as time is of the essence to revitalize and safeguard what belongs to the original stewards of these lands.”
The new endowment, known as the First Peoples’ Cultural Heritage Fund, represents an initial investment that will help the Foundation to build a sustainable legacy of First Nations unique heritage, cultural knowledge, and diversity, contributing to Indigenous resurgence and rights. The Foundation will invest the funds in perpetuity, with revenue earned from the endowment assisting its operations and work to fund First Nations cultural heritage projects in B.C.
The Foundation is dedicated to assisting First Nations to rebuild and restore the cultural systems that have sustained them for generations by providing funding for programs and training to build capacity in their communities. The organization has a close relationship with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC), and the two organizations are aligned in a shared goal of supporting the revitalization of First Nations cultural heritage, arts, and languages. Many of FPCC’s programs are funded by the Foundation and the new endowment provides an opportunity for further funding of community projects.
“This endowment is another step towards ensuring First Nations cultural heritage will be recognized and protected for future generations,” said Karen Aird, manager, FPCC Cultural Heritage Program. “We are proud to continue to work with the Foundation to support First Nations-led efforts to bring in additional funds, influence policy, and create programming that responds to the specific needs of First Nations communities around the province.”
The historic investment by the Province recognizes Indigenous Peoples as being the rightful stewards of their own cultural heritage.
“Advancing reconciliation and supporting the preservation of First Nations cultural heritage is important to ensuring everyone’s stories are heard and remembered as we reflect on the history of British Columbia,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “B.C. is stronger through the contributions of everyone who calls this province home, and we all have a part to play in reconciliation.”
Indigenous cultural heritage has often been narrowly defined through a Western lens, understood as being about artifacts and archeological places, which has influenced policy and legislation, and resulted in inadequate protection and management. An Indigenous perspective is holistic and values both tangible and intangible cultural heritage, such as traditional knowledge systems, land-based practices, skills, connections to place, and many diverse and varied forms of expression such as art, dance, song, and dress, and more.
Colonial policies and practices, such as residential schools and reserves, have impacted the natural transmission of cultural knowledge and values to future generations among Indigenous Peoples. As such, it continues to be at risk; time is of the essence to revitalize and safeguard it. Legal recognition, protection, training, and funding for Indigenous cultural heritage is needed to avoid further harm, particularly as the connections between heritage and land are further eroded due to the loss of Elders and Knowledge Keepers, development, and climate change.
Indigenous Peoples have an inherent human right to maintain, control, interpret, protect, and practice their cultural heritage, as recognized by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the new B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
About the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation:
The First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation is a First Nations-led registered charity that supports the vitality of Indigenous arts, languages, and cultural heritage in British Columbia. For more than 20 years, the Foundation has provided grant funding and resources to Indigenous organizations and communities working to rebuild cultural systems impacted by colonization. Over its history, the Foundation has worked closely with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, delivering millions of dollars to Indigenous and First Nations artists, and First Nations communities, cultural organizations, and educational organizations for Indigenous language, arts, and cultural heritage revitalization initiatives. For more information, visit: fpcf.ca
- Information about the First Peoples’ Cultural Council: fpcc.ca
- Information on the First Peoples’ Cultural Council Indigenous cultural heritage grants: fpcc.ca/programs/about-our-heritage-programs/
- Fact sheet on Indigenous cultural heritage in B.C.: fpcc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/FPCC-ICH-Fact-Sheet-190918-WEB.pdf
- B.C. government’s 150 Time Immemorial Program: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021MUNI0065-002186
Available to media:
- Interviews with representatives of FPCF, FPCC, and Indigenous community members who have led cultural heritage revitalization projects funded by the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation may be accommodated on request.