Dear Language Champions, Chiefs and Council, and Community Partners,
We are pleased to share the news that the provincial government in British Columbia has recognized the importance of Indigenous language revitalization in its 2018 budget announcement. The province will be investing $50 million in First Nations languages through the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC).
This historic investment is the result of many years of advocacy, educating of policy makers, and the development of investment models by FPCC and our community partners. We wish to extend our gratitude to the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (MIRR), Scott Fraser, and the Minister of Finance, Carole James for their support.
We also want to acknowledge the tireless efforts of our community-based language champions – thank you to all of you for your hard work on language revitalization and the expertise that you have shared with us!
We look forward to working with B.C. First Nations leadership and National Chief Perry Bellegarde to continue advocating with the federal government to request that they make a similar investment in the Indigenous languages of British Columbia.
FPCC is currently working with MIRR on the details of the funding. We plan to distribute the new funding resources to communities in B.C. over three years starting in 2018/19. The funding is intended to create new speakers, document the languages, and support language planning and collaboration. FPCC is also committed to working with our partners in education to ensure the investments made in the community domains complement work in education.
At the present time, FPCC will continue with the project-based application model for funding. We will also be working with tribes to develop long-term language investment plans for revitalization and maintenance so that in future we can move to a new model of funding based on those plans. With the development of comprehensive language plans, tribes will be able to identify the full cost for language revitalization, which will help to leverage additional funding.
FPCC is convening with our Advisory Committee in March to review policy issues related to language revitalization and to discuss an implementation plan for the funding. We will also be sharing regular updates – please sign up for our news to ensure you receive the most up-to-date information.
Language revitalization work is complex and requires investment in community-based readiness and training. The language champions of B.C. are ready for this challenge. B.C. is a leader in language revitalization work in Canada and across the globe and we look forward to working with our Indigenous language champions and experts to move this work forward.
Chief Executive Officer, First Peoples’ Cultural Council