The Diocese of Victoria has contributed $1.25M towards the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Indigenous Reconciliation Fund. Applications are now being accepted from groups that wish to access these funds.
- For more information, please contact the Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-800-3167 -
All grants will be made to local projects and initiatives related to healing and reconciliation for communities and families, culture and language revitalization, education and community building, and dialogues involving Indigenous elders, spiritual leaders and youth, with a focus on Indigenous spirituality and culture.
Previous grant recipients include:
Ahousaht is one of fourteen Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nations located on the west coast of Vancouver Island. There are over 2,400 registered Ahousaht members, a majority of whom live off-reserve in urban areas. The Ahousaht First Nation received $30,000 to host weekly cultural ceremony practices in the Nanaimo area. Language and culture are the foundation of Nuu-Chah-Nulth identity and governance; the Nuu-Chah-Nulth dream is for language fluency and a vibrant culture that is expressed in daily life.
The Indigenous Outreach Workers (IOW) Network is a network of Indigenous outreach and support workers from different agencies who come together to offer ey stelnexw (Lekwungen for "good medicine") to Indigenous people who are living unhoused, precariously housed or who may be using substances. IOW knows that, as Indigenous people, they value and rely on relationships with one another to keep strong. IOW received $30,000 to offer cultural events, dinners, health and wellness supports, and spiritual and cultural care and protocol for families who have lost loved ones from the street.
The Literacy Circle provides a safe, supportive, and respectful space for English literacy training to Indigenous Elders and adults, residential and day school survivors, and intergenerational survivors. Many survivors did not receive an education during their time at school, and the trauma and abuse experienced there left many with a great reluctance to enter a traditional classroom setting. As a result, many survivors are living without critical literacy skills. The Literacy Program received $30,000 to expand its programs from the Nanaimo area to Campbell River, Port Alberni, the Cowichan Valley, and Victoria.
The Métis Nation Powell River includes Métis residing in the City of Powell River and qathet Regional District (Texada Island, Lasqueti Island and Savary Island). They received $30,000 to hold art workshops, community dinners, Elder coffee gatherings, and nature walks. Each event holds space for learning, passing on knowledge, and opens discussion amongst their members to explore the culture and traditions taken from them over many generations.
Since receiving their grant in February 2023, Métis Nation Powell River has brought in Lisa Shepherd, a Métis Artist, to teach members to jig, lead a workshop on quilling, and do a presentation on Métis culture and traditions as it applies to today. The Nation has distributed grocery cards to allow members to purchase nutritious food after the additional expenses brought by winter's high costs of heating, fuel, and electricity, and are hosting Seniors' Fit exercise classes, which are followed by light snacks and connection with their Elders/Seniors community. Knowledge keepers use this opportunity to pass on to the next generation.
We couldn't have done this without the support of the Reconciliation Grant. Connection is healing and our workshops are providing a safe venue to do just that.
- Métis Nation Powell River
The Michif Language Revitalization Circle (MLRC) supports Métis in reclaiming self-identity through learning of the Michif Language. They received $30,000 to host three public events to promote their language and culture revitalization & education programs. These events also give MLRC’s participants the important opportunity to practice Michif Language in a public space and context, and for the general public to witness Michif language and culture. The language learning journey is a spiritual and healing endeavour, and this project will promote a stronger community of language learners.
Since receiving their grant in March 2023, MLRC has held two events. In March, they hosted a lecture and Q&A session with Michif Fluent Speaker Brousse Flammand on the Creation Story of the Michif (Métis) People, Language, and Culture (Spirituality and Medicine). The presence of a Michif Fluent Speaker in Victoria was very important and rare, as most Michif Fluent Speakers reside outside of BC.
I am glad that events like this occur so we can learn about and reclaim our Michif culture. I am proud to be Michif. Maarsii.
- Lecture participant
In June 2023, MLRC set up an informational booth/tent at the National Indigenous Peoples Day activities held at Royal Roads University. At this event, MLRC had the opportunity to present the SpeakMichif.ca website to attending members of the public, inform them about their Language Circles and Language Classes, and sign up new members for these programs.
The new tent! It was visible all the way from the lagoon! People definitely knew who we were and what we did.
- MLRC volunteer
The Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, centred on the villlage of Yuquot on Nootka Island. They received $30,000 to support the continuing restoration of St. Pius X Church at Yuquot. Opened in 1958 as the third Catholic church to be built at Yuquot, the church was the scene of many community gatherings, weddings, funerals and religious events before being deconsecrated in 1997. It now serves as a community gathering place and interpretive centre for tourists who visit Yuquot.
The Oasis Society is a not-for-profit urban Indigenous organization working with vulnerable Indigenous people living on the streets of Victoria and those involved in street life. They received $30,000 to support the hiring of a Program Coordinator to support their base program, Integrated Recovery and Holistic Wellness. The Program Coordinator position is centered around the revitalization of Indigenous knowledge via the incorporation of Elders, seniors, and older adults in Oasis programming.
QomQem Coastal Connections is an all-Indigenous team of outreach workers and peer workers with lived experience that works in partnership with Peers Victoria Resources Society. They received $29,980 to support a drop-in centre that offers cultural programming, including food from a local Songhees cook, Elder visits, and cultural education delivered by local knowledge keepers, artists and Elders. The drop-in program is accessed by people with current and former histories of sex trade involvement, 35% of whom are Indigenous. The funds will also be used to deliver food and outreach supports to people living outside.
The Snuneymuxw are a vibrant First Nation of the Coast Salish People, residing in the centre of Coast Salish territory on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, with villages on the Fraser River and waterways in the Gulf Islands. Snuneymuxw First Nation received received $30,000 to allow 13 of its members to participate in the Roots to Thrive Ketamine-Assisted Therapy program for individuals living with unresolved trauma and chronic mental health conditions.
The Victoria Native Friendship Centre serves 20,000 off-reserve Indigenous citizens from Sooke to Sidney BC. They received $30,000 to support an active community of 289 urban Indigenous Elders. These Elders provide cultural support for youth, families and community members longing for a cultural connection, lead craft sessions (eg, cedar weaving, drum making, beading, etc), and are instrumental in the free weekly Indigenous language classes offered at the Centre to youth, families and community members who want to revitalize their language.
Indigenous Reconciliation Fund Committee
Grant applications will be reviewed by the Diocese of Victoria Indigenous Reconciliation Fund Committee, who will identify the projects that will have the maximum positive impact in our diocese. The Committee will work closely with local Indigenous partners to ensure that the proposed projects are deemed by Indigenous communities as being significant and meaningful in terms of facilitating reconciliation.
The members of the Diocese of Victoria Indigenous Reconciliation Fund Committee are listed below; click on their names to learn more about them.
TEALIYE (ta-a-th-le-ut), Brianna Bear is from the Songhees/ Lekwungen Nation in Victoria through her father’s side with roots to the Namgis Kwakwaka’wakw people in Alert Bay through her mother’s side.
She is the oldest of eight siblings from three parents whose backgrounds are Songhees, Kwakwaka’wakw & Nuu chah nulth.
TEALIYE was brought up around her father’s territory of the Songhees people, learning many of the teachings from her grandfather Skip Dick and family members.
Within the past 10 years she has taken on the role of welcoming people to the territory, establishing her art to tell stories through her designs and most recently becoming a mother.
Hello, my name is Tsulotsulwut, my English name is Carmen George. I was born & raised here on Penelakut Island, where there was once a residential school. My mother attended here on Penelakut Island, and I am a first generation survivor of the IRS system.
I have four children and two grandchildren.
I’ve been a certified dental assistant for 18 years now & work in my community with a dentist, hygienist & dental therapist.
Fr. Dean Henderson has been the Pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Lanford since 2019, after serving for 12 years as the UVic and Camosun chaplain, as well as 4 years as the Pastor of St. Rose of Lima in Sooke. After a sabbatical/mission in the Diocese of the Yukon in 2012, Fr. Dean has been committed to a healing path of friendship with Indigenous Peoples. The Parish of OLOR has been a cultural home for Nuu Cha Nulth peoples, particularly the local Ahousahts, and he regularly visits the nations of Pacheedaht and T’Sou-ke. As a former Anglican priest who was received into full communion with the Catholic Church in 1999, Fr. Dean is married to Linda with whom he has 5 grown children and three grandchildren.
Bertha Landrie is a French Cree Metis Elder. She is a Metis Role Model for SD61 and SD 62, and she and her husband Joe are members of the Elder's Initiative at Camosun College. Bertha is a Metis History and Culture Presenter, and a Co-founder and Matriarch for MLRC, a Michif Revitalization Program. Their website, www.speakmichif.ca, is a learning tool to help teach and promote the Michif Language.
Oo-Kla-Shish ?Uu-Kwa-Qum is from Manhousaht/Ahousaht and lives and works in Greater Victoria as an advisory teacher for SD61 and a reservist in the Canadian Forces. ?Uu-Kwa-Qum is the hereditary Chief (Haa-wilth) of Manhousaht or Mot-nos. James is also an artist and foster parent, and a survivor of Christie Residential School.