Federal funding for three projects aimed at reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, the environment and youth, were announced Tuesday in front of the iconic Jade Canoe at Vancouver International Airport.
$1.8 million is earmarked for Reconciliation Canada’s project to carry out a series of engagement activities focused on examining and documenting “perceptions, actions and aspirations of Canadians in relation to reconciliation.”
Minister of Canadian Heritage Melanie Joly said the narrative will “recognize our common history, highlight current achievements and create hope for the next 150 years.”
Joly said: “The 150th anniversary of Confederation is an excellent opportunity to celebrate all that it means to be Canadian. Let’s be proud of our diversity; let’s reinforce the relationships that hold us together; and let’s highlight the richness of our common history and our heritage.”
Dr. Robert Joseph, hereditary chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation, spoke about the impact of the efforts.
“Here in this great country of ours, we have the opportunity to move forward, to vision a future together like we’ve never done before,” Joseph said. “Aboriginal people will no longer talk about the gap that exists between they and others. Treaties will be honoured. New ones will be made. Education will be affordable for all. This very idea of reconciliation is a dream that’s always been held by others, but for some reason we have not been able to enact it. Now that we’re beginning to think along the same lines, we’re going to bring real compassion to our country, real justice, real equality, real inclusion and celebrate indeed the diversity of this wonderful country of ours.”
A cross-Canada speaking tour for exceptional Indigenous youth will receive $200,000 in support through the non-profit group Inspire, which aims to enrich Canada through Indigenous education and inspiring achievement.
Indspire president and CEO Roberta Jamieson said: “With this investment, Inspire will highlight exceptional accomplishments by Indigenous people, who will tell their stories to Canadians across the country.”
A $398,000 contribution will be made to the 4Rs Youth Movement: Possible Canadas. This project will see some 5,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth participate in face-to-face dialogue that will highlight the contributions of Indigenous people over the past 150 years.
Youth movement executive director Jessica Bolduc said: “The 4Rs Youth Movement is excited to be recognized for our vision to inspire youth-led reconciliation, a model which we hope past and present healing work by Indigenous people and our allies.”
The 4Rs represent respect, reciprocity, relevance and reconciliation.