Four First Nations in Northeast B.C. are sharing in more than $125,000 in provincial funding to complete well-being and poverty-reduction plans and projects in their communities.
The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction announced the grants from the First Nations Well Being Fund on Wednesday, including:
Doig River First Nation - $32,125 to support mental health wellness by delivering a series of trauma workshops in the community, including language revitalization;
Prophet River First Nation - $25,000 to explore and define "community wellness and measures" by hosting a series of workshops and to deliver a draft community wellness plan;
Saulteau First Nations - $35,000 to strengthen local food security, building a community cooler and meat-cutting shack, and instruct youth in traditional food-preparation methods;
West Moberly First Nations - $35,000 to improve food security by delivering a series of community canning workshops over two years;
"All orders of government are finding ways of reducing poverty," said Social Development Minister Nicholas Simons in a release. "I'm excited that through this funding, First Nations communities are able to develop projects that will improve individual well-being and benefit communities."
The province says the fund was started with a $2.7-million grant, and that more than $2 million in grants have been provided to 62 First Nation communities in B.C.
The government says it has legislated targets to reduce the child poverty rate by 50% and the overall poverty rate by 25% by 2024, and Cheryl Casimer, political executive for the First Nations Summit, says "a shocking 25% of Indigenous people in Canada living in poverty."
"This welcome program is a modest step toward addressing the disproportionally high rates of poverty for First Nations' citizens in B.C.," Casimer said in a release.
"The program was very oversubscribed, which clearly shows there is a high demand for much-needed funding for these types of important community projects. We hope that the success of this initiative will lead to greater poverty reduction funding opportunities for our communities in the future," Casimer said.
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