About First Peoples’ Cultural Council
FPCC is a First Nations-led Province of British Columbia Crown corporation with a mandate to support the revitalization of Indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage in British Columbia. We are located in W̱SÁNEĆ traditional territory in Brentwood Bay, B.C. Canada. We are led by Board of Directors and an Advisory Committee with members from the 34 B.C. First Nations language regions.
FPCC’s mission began over 30 years ago, long before the TRC was formed or UNDRIP was developed and implemented, as B.C. First Nations people came together and identified the urgent need for a centralized organization to support our communities in the revitalization of our languages, arts and cultures. We successfully lobbied the Government of B.C. to establish FPCC as a First Nations-led Crown corporation.
The First Peoples’ Cultural Council was created by the provincial government in 1990 to administer the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture program. The enabling legislation is the First Peoples Heritage, Language and Culture Act. The First Peoples’ Cultural Council Mandate, as laid out in the Act is to:
- Preserve, revitalize and enhance First Nations’ language, arts and culture.
- Increase understanding and sharing of knowledge, within both the First Nations and non-First Nations communities.
- Heighten appreciation and acceptance of the wealth of cultural diversity among all British Columbians.
The council provides funding and resources to communities, monitors the status of Indigenous languages, develops policy recommendations for First Nations leadership and government, and collaborates with Indigenous organizations on numerous special projects that raise the profile of arts and languages in B.C., Canada and around the world.
FPCC is the key source of current and accurate information on the state of First Nations languages in B.C. Since 1990, FPCC has distributed over $50 million to First Nations communities in British Columbia for language, arts and culture projects.
FPCC programs are unique because they are based on community consultation and employ people specifically for their Indigenous knowledge. As community skills develop, opportunities grow for Indigenous people to work in their own communities in the field of Indigenous language, arts and cultural revitalization.
What is a crown corporation?
Crown corporations are public sector organizations established and funded by the provincial government of British Columbia to provide specialized goods and services to citizens. They operate at varying levels of government control and report on their planning, governance and accountabilities. FPCC is a provincial crown corporation and not a federal crown corporation.
Why does FPCC only service programs in British Columbia?
While FPCC does have partnerships with international organizations like the Endangered Languages Project or the FirstVoices Indigenous language keyboard, our legislated mandate as a provincial crown corporation is to deliver services and funding to Indigenous people and First Nations communities within British Columbia.
Who manages FPCC?
Chief Executive Officer Tracey Herbert leads the management of FPCC.
The First Peoples’ Cultural Council is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of up to 13 members. The work of the board is further supported by three sub-committees: governance, finance and audit, and HR and compensation. In addition, the Board is supported by a 34-member Advisory Committee, with one representative for each of the First Nations language groups in B.C. Both Board and Advisory Committee members serve a term of two years.
Board members and Advisory Committee members are recommended for appointment by the Board’s Governance Committee (and then appointed by the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation) while 3 board members are appointed directly by the Minister.
For more information please visit the Governance page.
Who benefits from the First Peoples’ Cultural Council programs and services?
The revitalization of Indigenous languages, arts and cultures is critical not only to Indigenous Peoples, but to all British Columbians because of their deep connections to identity, society, wellness, the environment and economy.
FPCC programs and initiatives support the cultural and linguistic diversity of B.C. and create opportunities for everyone here to learn about the Indigenous cultures that come from this land. The First Peoples Map, Our Living Languages Exhibit and FirstVoices.com are important ways that we share knowledge with everyone.
Indigenous people, communities and organizations benefit from FPCC grants, online and print resources and programs. We support the 204 First Nations communities across the province of B.C and urban off-reserve communities. We provide language, arts and cultural heritage funding, consultation, guidance and support in collaboration with First Nations communities and leaders in B.C. Indigenous people and First Nations communities across the province of B.C. are eligible to receive funding, training and resource support.
Our programs are based on community consultation through an advisory committee, peer review process and community outreach. FPCC programs such as the Indigenous Arts Program and the Indigenous Music Initiative allow us to support Indigenous arts and culture organizations and artists in B.C. We advise the government on programs, services, initiatives and issues related to Indigenous language, arts and cultural heritage.
Why is it important to support the revitalization of Indigenous language, arts and culture?
Language, art and culture are what make us human; they connect us with our neighbours, ancestors and traditions. The 34 First Nations languages of B.C. reflect a diversity of histories and identities that are woven into the cultural fabric of our province and our nation. It is important for all British Columbians that we cherish and support the revitalization of these invaluable traditions and ways of being and knowing.
There is an urgent need to rebuild the cultural systems that strengthen and support the passing on of Indigenous language, art and culture to younger generations. Emerging research shows that the key to addressing the wide-ranging problems facing Indigenous Peoples is to attend to the root cause, namely the dispossession of land and consequent losses of language, arts and culture.
Revitalizing Indigenous languages, arts and cultures supports economic development; it yields employment opportunities that value Indigenous expertise and it contributes to the growing Indigenous economy through job creation and revenue generation in industries including arts and heritage, tourism, technology, education, clean energy and health. Indigenous cultures also hold valuable ecological knowledge that is critical to countering climate change and health issues. More broadly, Indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage contribute to the diversity of Canada and the collective identity of Canadians.
Support for language arts and cultural heritage revitalization is an important step in reconciliation to strengthen the health and well-being of Indigenous communities. The final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) determined that the root cause of violence is a deliberate and persistent violation of human rights that has silenced the voices of those who would have otherwise carried knowledge forward to future generations.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission details the impacts of the cultural genocide enacted by the residential school system and the Calls to Action provide a path forward that includes the responsibility of the government to support the revitalization of Indigenous language, arts and culture in Canada. The governments of Canada and B.C. have a responsibility to uphold the Calls to Action and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by supporting the revitalization of Indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage.
The Province of B.C. has endorsed the TRC Calls to Action and is the first province in Canada to implement UNDRIP, which recognizes the rights of Indigenous Peoples to revitalize and develop their languages, art forms and cultural practices, as well as governments’ responsibilities to remove obstacles to these rights. In November 2019, B.C. passed Bill-41 (DRIPA, or the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People Act), which commits the government to the implementation of UNDRIP.
What are the primary programs/services of FPCC?
The FPCC has developed a number of programs that support language, arts and cultural heritage revitalization. They are as follows:
- The Language program works with communities to support language revitalization with the goals to preserve and protect the language through digitization, transfer language to future generations through immersion programming and create long-lasting language programs through strategic language revitalization planning. To view all our language programs please visit the Language Program page.
- The Arts program supports Indigenous artists in B.C. through the Indigenous Arts Program and Indigenous Music Initiative. We support the creative or professional development of Indigenous artists and/or the sharing of traditional knowledge across generations. The Arts program supports both individuals and organizations across a diverse range of artistic practices. We are also engaged in research to assess the level of Indigenous arts vitality in B.C. so we can better support the revitalization of Indigenous arts practices. To view all of our arts programs please visit the Arts Program page.
- The Heritage program supports the revitalization of Indigenous cultural heritage in B.C. and the transmission of Indigenous heritage and cultural knowledge through grant programs, policy research and advocacy, a strong network of Indigenous experts, support for communities to build skills through mentorships, tools and training programs, and cultural infrastructure development. To view all of our cultural heritage programs please visit the Heritage Program page.
- FPCC Outreach Coaches support project planning, grant writing and information sharing about FPCC programs. For more information visit the Community Outreach page.
What are some of the recent FPCC initiatives?
- First Peoples’ Map: Interactive map that provides information about B.C.’s First Nations languages, arts and heritage. The map provides an online environment for artists, communities and groups to share information about their language, artistic practice and heritage. For more information and to explore the Indigenous arts, languages and cultural heritage of B.C.
- FirstVoices: is an online Indigenous language resource developed by FPCC that has gained international recognition. Community-based teams of fluent-speaking First Nations Elders and technically savvy youth are trained in the collection, editing and uploading of words, phrases, songs and stories. For more information visit FirstVoices.com and FirstVoicesKids.com
- Our Living Languages: FPCC partnered with the Royal B.C. Museum for what is now a permanent exhibit that showcases the diversity of the 34 First Nations languages in British Columbia. By telling this important story, FPCC has been able to better support, enhance and encourage language revitalization by increasing the understanding of its complexities.
- Endangered Languages Project: FPCC is proud to support this network for language communities across the globe. ELP is an online resource designed to record, access and share samples of, and research about, endangered languages. It also provides advice and best practices for those working to document or strengthen Indigenous languages.
- Indigifest: The FPCC Indigenous Music Initiative hosts this free, family-friendly festival hosted every second year to celebrate Indigenous music, arts and culture. Learn more here Indigifest.ca.
- HELISET TŦE SḰÁL – ‘Let the Languages Live’ – International Conference on Indigenous Languages: Hosted with the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation and UNESCO, this international gathering for Indigenous people was held in Victoria in 2019 in celebration of the 2019 Year of Indigenous Languages. Attendees shared knowledge and supported each other in the revitalization and the importance of keeping our languages thriving.
How do you determine which communities, individuals or organizations receive funding?
FPCC grants are awarded based on grant applications and are determined by a peer-review process. Peer reviews include Indigenous experts in the field related to the grant being reviewed. Each program area has its own funding programs and guidelines. There are specific program grants for individuals, community-led initiatives and organizations. The grants are assessed based on the requirements of the application guidelines so that funding is awarded in a fair and financially responsible manner.
For more information please visit the FPCC Funding Process.
Where does the funding come from?
FPCC receives federal and provincial government funding as well as sponsorship from non-government organizations. Funds are managed by the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation and FPCC places yearly requests for funds based on our estimated needs for grants and programs. For information visit the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation.
FPCC received $50 million in funding from the Province of B.C. How will this be spent?
This funding is a one-time investment in community-based language revitalization. We are using this funding to build on our strong track record of success. The funding will be used for increasing the community grants, developing community language revitalization planning and to expand language immersion programs and learning resources to support Indigenous languages in communities throughout the province. The goal of the increased funding plan is to increase the number of fluent speakers to support more language teachers and learners. For more information on our language grants and how to apply please visit our Language Program page.
With increased funding we are working to move away from an annual proposal process to funding long-term multi-year plans. For additional information please see our Press Release.
What is FPCC’s role in the development of federal language legislation?
FPCC has been a strong and vocal advocate for language legislation in Canada and is supportive of the government’s commitment to this. In 2017 we initiated consultation sessions across the province to discuss the coming legislation with First Nations and to provide education on how best to provide input and feedback to the government. We have also created a Legislation resource page on our website with materials on the legislation, the consultation processes both from our sessions and those provided by the BC Assembly of First Nations and the Department of Canadian Heritage.
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