New initiative supports conversations about urban Indigenous reconciliation
Indigenous groups and local governments are reaching out in their urban communities to have important conversations about reconciliation, supported by a partnership between the Province and the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM).
B.C. has provided $110,000 to support the Urban Communities Partnering for Reconciliation (UCPR) 2019 initiative, which is funding nine projects over the next year.
With program funding administered by the UBCM, the initiative provides financial assistance to projects that support urban reconciliation efforts and can demonstrate progress. Applicants are eligible for help with costs up to $10,000.
“The important work of reconciliation must include Indigenous peoples living away from their home communities in urban areas,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “Our government is committed to partnerships and innovative approaches that can create lasting social, economic and cultural changes to support the well-being of Indigenous peoples living in urban areas. Partnering with UBCM is a great way for the Province to reach out to the greatest number of people.”
The UCPR initiative was created in response to the September 2018 UBCM resolution that identified the “need for the equitable recognition and support for urban Indigenous communities”.
Working with the UBCM, BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, Métis Nation BC and other agencies, the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation supported the development of this unique grant program. The initiative supports local governments and Indigenous communities getting together for important conversations about reconciliation.
“B.C. local governments have been supportive of the ongoing work of reconciliation, both through resolutions endorsed at UBCM and through local initiatives,” said Murry Krause, UBCM past president. “I appreciate the practical support the program provides for off-reserve reconciliation efforts.”
Groups taking advantage of the funding available through UCPR are organizing events, such as community discussions, cultural gatherings, camps for youth and community feasts.
One such effort is the Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues, a series of six conversations, touching on topics such as traditional Lekwungen knowledge of the Victoria area, as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and how it can affect participants’ everyday lives.
“We’re grateful to the Province for providing this funding and making reconciliation a major priority of their government,” said Lisa Helps, mayor of Victoria. “We are looking forward to important community conversations about all aspects of reconciliation and about what it means to have built a city on someone else’s homelands.”
- In 2019-20, B.C. has allocated $385,000 to support projects for urban Indigenous reconciliation initiatives.
- The Province is supporting reconciliation initiatives with organizations, such as BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, Métis Nation BC, the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Committee, as well as other initiatives across government.
Union of B.C. Municipalities: https://www.ubcm.ca/
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