Funds announced for well-being and poverty-reduction plans
Two Ktunaxa Nation communities will be supported so they can complete well-being and poverty-reduction plans and projects in their communities, thanks to a grant from the First Nations Well Being Fund.
The First Nations Well Being Fund is administered by the First Nations Public Service Secretariat, in partnership with the First Nations Leadership Council. It supports First Nations and Tribal Councils in their efforts to promote well-being, improve quality of life for community members on and off reserve, and reduce poverty at the community or Nation level.
More than $2 million in grants has been provided to 62 First Nation communities throughout the province, with ʔaq̓am (St. Mary’s Band) and Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’I (Tobacco Plains Indian Band) receiving funding.
ʔaq̓am is getting $34,452 to deliver land-based training trips to teach traditional hunting, harvesting, fishing and canning methods, and update the community Strategic Plan.
And Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’I is getting $35,000 for food security initiatives including a communal meat freezer, community kitchen and hide-preparation area as well as $25,000 to deliver workshops on active living, conduct surveys and develop a community well-being plan.
“Numerous studies have shown that Indigenous people experience the highest levels of poverty, with a shocking 25% 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.”
The B.C. government provided funding as part of TogetherBC, the province’s poverty-reduction strategy.
“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.”
“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.
Applications to the first intake of the fund closed May 30. All B.C. First Nations were eligible to apply to the fund, which was created with a $2.7-million grant from the province.