Two local First Nation bands are receiving just under $100,000 in funding from the province that will go towards community well-being and poverty-reduction projects.
ʔaq̓am (St. Mary’s Indian Band) is set to receive $34,452 that will be used to deliver land-based training trips to teach traditional hunting, harvesting, fishing and canning methods, as well as to update the community Strategic Plan.
Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’I (Tobacco Plains Indian Band) will receive funding for two projects; $35,000 for food security initiatives including a communal meat freezer, community kitchen and hide-preparation area. An additional $25,000 will go towards delivering workshops on active living, conduct surveys and develop a community well-being plan.
The funding is part of a grant stream from the First Nations Well Being Fund, which is administered by the First Nations Public Service Secretariat, in partnership with the First Nations Leadership Council.
“Numerous studies have shown that Indigenous people experience the highest levels of poverty, with a shocking 25 per cent of Indigenous people in Canada living in poverty,” said Cheryl Casimer, political executive, First Nations Summit. “This poverty reduction initiative was created to assist B.C. First Nations to increase well-being within their communities and membership. This welcome program is a modest step toward addressing the disproportionally high rates of poverty for First Nations citizens in B.C.
“The program was very oversubscribed, which clearly shows there is a high demand for much-needed funding for these types of important community projects. We hope that the success of this initiative will lead to greater poverty reduction funding opportunities for our communities in the future.”
More than $2 million has been provided to 62 First Nation communities from the funding stream, according to the province.
“All orders of government are finding ways of reducing poverty,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “I’m excited that through this funding, First Nations communities are able to develop projects that will improve individual well-being and benefit communities.”
The First Nations Well Being Fund has two streams available for community projects and/or planning.
“As we continue the work to build and maintain strong relationships based on recognition and implementation of the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples, it’s good to know that many of the plans and projects being funded through the First Nations Well Being Fund are designed to preserve and respect Indigenous cultures and promote community well-being,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.