Hike funding

Four First Nations cultural heritage projects on the island receive funding

The money, provided by the province, will go towards trails, learning and cultural centers and a longhouse

Four First Nations cultural heritage projects on the island will receive support from a $5.4 million fund distributed by the First Peoples’ Cultural Council of Victoria.

To be eligible for funding, which is provided by the province, projects must maintain or expand First Nations heritage infrastructure, which could include building a museum, restoring a cemetery or improving a a trail to an important cultural area.

Sixteen projects will receive the funding, which is critical to ensuring Indigenous heritage in British Columbia is protected for future generations, said Karen Aird, the council’s heritage program manager.

On the island, the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations of Tofino received $400,000 to help renovate and improve the Meares Island Cultural Center and Trail, while the Stz’uminus Ladysmith’s Education Society received $392,090 for an educational trail, Nanaimo’s Snuneymuxw First Nation received $395,000 for its longhouse expansion, and Salt Spring Island’s Stqeeye’ Learning Society received $400,000 for its learning center project.

The board received 63 applications which were reviewed by First Nations experts.

Projects receive two-year funding to conserve structures, cultural and heritage sites, landscapes and buildings. Work is to be completed by February 2024.

“The Government of British Columbia is committed to working with Indigenous peoples on a path to lasting reconciliation,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Supporting projects that contribute to First Nations communities as they strive to protect their cultural and other important spaces is one way the province can contribute to this much larger and more essential goal.