Following are some examples of projects initiated with support from foundations. Sign on as a member and post your own stories here.
Two First Nation bands in the Grey-Bruce Huron-Perth region are blending traditional environmental knowledge with scientific expertise in order to lend an indigenous voice to important local land use planning discussions. A $25,000 one-year Ontario Trillium Foundation grant (awarded June 2005) helped the Chippewas of Nawash and the Saugeen First Nations Bands initiate discussions with local industries and governments about proposed development projects and the environmental impact they might have on traditional territories. Local industries and municipalities are now proactively seeking comment from the bands’ Environmental Office on new projects, such as proposed tree cutting near reserves, potential housing developments in Bruce Peninsula region, local quarry proposals and power generation plans. An Ontario Trillium Foundation Great Grants Awards 2009 recipient.
One of the first projects on smallchangefund.org was Help Save Fish Lake from Acid Waste, supporting the people of Fish Lake in their fight against a proposed BC mine, which would have destroyed the lake and filled the area with toxic waste. With a small grant of $5000 the Tsilhqot’in and Xeni Gwet’in peoples produced a short film opposing the mine to present to the environmental review panel. It worked! On 2 November 2010, Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced that cabinet has rejected the mine as proposed, because of its adverse environmental impact and the damage it would cause to Fish Lake and its connecting streams. This is a huge victory for the Tsilhqot’in and Xeni Gwet’in peoples and their allies in the environmental community who have worked tirelessly to win this battle for all Canadians.
Preserving the Mohawk language in Akwesasne, the second largest First Nation in Canada, is a labour of love. This multi-year project first saw the development of a multi-media Mohawk language initiative in 2005 with more than 1,300 people participating ($75,000 awarded). The initiative has expanded to include stories, songs, art and images, which are important components when archiving an aboriginal language. As a result of its early success, the organization has been asked to share expertise with other aboriginal communities as they develop their own multi-media aboriginal language programs. A $100,000 grant over two years (awarded June 2008) will help AEDA continue their work as well as expand its reach to other aboriginal communities. An Ontario Trillium Foundation Great Grants Awards 2009 recipient.
Ecotrust Canada has initiated a number of partnerships with coastal Aboriginal communities and business enterprises designed to foster a “conservation economy”. As part of this, they created the Aboriginal Mapping Network in partnership with the Gitxsan and Ahousaht First Nations, with support from the Moore, Gordon, and Wilburforce Foundations. They also produced Chief Kerry’s Moose: A Guide to Land Use and Occupancy mapping, research design and data collection in partnership with the BC Union of Indian Chiefs, with support from the Gordon Foundation. A follow-up, more detailed guidebook will be published in late 2008, with additional support from the John and Pat McCutcheon Charitable Foundation.
This six-part documentary series shines a spotlight on issues facing children and youth at risk and in government care while creating in parallel a social movement to inspire change for the betterment of those children and youth across Canada. The Laidlaw Foundation, Atkinson Foundation, and the Law Foundation of Ontario supported this work, which includes a documentary on two northern Ontario Aboriginal communities: Pikangikum and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninwug.
Finding Our Way: A Sexual and Reproductive Health Sourcebook for Aboriginal Communities, was produced in 2002 by the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada and the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada, with the support of The EJLB Foundation. Finding our Way is a sexual and reproductive health sourcebook for Aboriginal communities.
The Supreme Court’s 1999 Marshall Decision recognized the treaty rights of the Mi’kmaq to fish commercially. The Department of Fisheries (DFO) responded by negotiating deals for licences, boats and training – so long as communities accepted their jurisdiction. So far, 32 out of the 34 First Nations in the Maritimes have signed these “Marshall Agreements.” In this film by Martha Stiegman, Sherry Pictou and Chief Frank Meuse, Jr. explain why Bear River First Nation has refused to sign. The film is the product of an initiative supported by the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia. You can watch the video here.
Staking The Claim is a video and print educational resource about the 30 year journey of a small group of Inuit and other Canadians seeking to define a new relationship with their country through the negotiation of land claims agreements. Four young documentary guides (Stacey Aglok MacDonald, Tommy Akulukjuk, Pauloosie Akeeagok and David Joanasie) take the viewer on a journey as they discover the events and meet the people that have shaped their past and changed their future. There are no scripts, no outside interpretations – simply the voices of those who’ve played a part in shaping a legacy conversing with those who will inherit it.
Watch a video from Thunder Bay TBTV news on a program initiated with support from the Kenny Family Foundation, which aims to create a brighter future for Aboriginal youth in northwestern Ontario and expresses the Aboriginal philosophy of seven generations by doing so. Wasaya Airlines, owned and operated by 10 Aboriginal Communities in Northwestern Ontario, has now taken on the lion’s share of operating support to ensure the camp continues.