Heritage Minister Melanie Joly gives $2.4 million to indigenous projects for Confederation's 150th anniversary

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      Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly and Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, rolled out new plans for the 150th anniversary of Confederation before a small crowd at Vancouver International Airport on Tuesday (May 24).

      Speaking in front of First Nations representatives, Joly and Bennett announced about $2.4 million in funding for three new projects focusing on themes such as diversity, inclusion, reconciliation, and youth and the environment.

      Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett.
      Colten Dom

      The money will come from the Canada 150 Fund, established in April 2015. The fund has an overall budget of $210 million and is designed to assist projects with a national scale.

      Joly announced the details of the funding. The organization Reconciliation Canada will receive $1.8 million for its project Reconciliation in Action: A National Engagement Strategy. The endeavour will document the attitude and aspirations of Canadians toward reconciliation.

      Indspire, a registered charity, will get $200,000 for its Cross Canada Speaking Tour of Exceptional Indigenous Youth. Aiming to highlight the accomplishments of young indigenous people, the tour will showcase their stories.

      Finally, $398,000 will go to the 4Rs Youth Movement, a youth-driven initiative partially administered by YMCA Canada, which was launched to change relationships between indigenous and nonindigenous young people. About 5,000 youth from both backgrounds will engage in face-to-face dialogue across the country, discussing the contributions of aboriginal peoples since the beginning of Confederation.

      Bennett explained that the intention of the announcement was to be “a powerful demonstration of the importance of working together to build a better future for Canada”.

      Sechelt Nation elder Joseph Fossella kicked off the announcement with a brief spoken welcome, and the event closed with a performance by the Eagle Song Dancers from the Squamish Nation.

      The Canada 150 Fund will invest in regional, local, and national projects until the anniversary. The Tuesday announcement added three projects to the previously announced five.