About First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation
The First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation is established to support the education of Indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage in B.C.
The Foundation celebrates the diversity and resilience of Indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage. The Foundation honours the work that is being done by communities and promotes understanding and recognition through telling stories of success. By hearing these stories, the general public can increase their knowledge of Indigenous cultures and engage in reconciliation that supports the rebuilding of cultural systems.
Generating long-term support
The Foundation is growing a long-term endowment fund to ensure Indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage programs continue to thrive for future generations. Sustainable and Indigenous-led funds are needed to resource the hard work communities are doing to rebuild cultural vitality and counter the impacts of generations of colonialism. The Foundation partners with government, organizations, private individuals and the philanthropic sector to generate educational resources that support strong and vital Indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage.
Enabling research and development in education
The Foundation drives innovation by sponsoring the development of ground-breaking research and state-of-the-art resources to support Indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage revitalization. The education research that we invest in has informed the development of evidence-based revitalization programs with proven results and positive impacts on people and communities. Our research helped to influence new policy and legislation grounded in Indigenous perspectives.
Investing in people, places and platforms
The Foundation honours Indigenous expertise by supporting specialized professional development that increases technical competencies needed to rebuild Indigenous cultural systems. The Foundation funds spaces to gather, share and develop networks of support for Indigenous cultural education. Our support for innovative technology platforms has created opportunities for First Nations to document their language data in an accessible format and keep it secure for future generations on FirstVoices.com.
Indigenous-led education programs
The land currently known as British Columbia has an incredible diversity of cultures, with 203 First Nations, 34 languages and more than 90 dialects. Each nation knows and expresses its diversity and unique worldview through language, art and cultural heritage passed with care and intention between generations.
Over the course of decades, colonialism and genocidal policies (e.g. residential schools) have disrupted the cultural systems that pass along this vital knowledge. The result is Indigenous cultures and languages are under critical threat.
Languages, arts, and cultural heritage are at the heart of self-determination and self-governance and their revitalization can lead to health, social, environmental and economic benefits for Indigenous communities.
By supporting the resurgence of Indigenous cultures, the Foundation supports communities as they maintain their inherent rights in alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Foundation’s work also supports reconciliation and healing from colonial wrongs.
The Foundation’s funds go to Indigenous-led community-based education programs to revitalize Indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage and make them accessible to all Indigenous people. The Foundation also supports these education programs through funding training, the development of resources and learning tools, and networks to collaborate.
How your gift will be used
Your contribution will fund Indigenous language and culture revitalization education through community programs such as:
- Mentor-Apprentice Program
The Mentor Apprentice Program funds 300 hours of immersive one-one-one language learning between fluent speakers and learners over the course of a year. The program is a highly effective way to increase the number of fluent speakers of a language.
- Language Nest Program
The Language Nest Program creates new language speakers through home-like cultural immersion environments for young children and their parents.
- Reclaiming My Language Program
Many Indigenous people know or understand their language but are not able to speak it, often as a result of institutional abuse (for example, in residential schools). The Reclaiming My Language Program supports participants to reclaim their language and become speakers.
FirstVoices is an internationally recognized online Indigenous language educational resource that allows communities to securely document their languages. In communities with few fluent speakers, language documentation is critical to keeping languages alive.
- Cultural Heritage Infrastructure
This initiative supports Indigenous communities to safeguard, revitalize and celebrate their heritage through projects that include the conservation of structures, cultural heritage sites, landscapes, trails and archives.
For more information about our programs and to view our strategic plan, visit our website.