This past Friday, CBT hosted a small reception at Darwin’s cafe here in traditional Tla-o-qui-aht territory to celebrate the first annual Vital Grants awards with representatives from the receiving organizations! As the rain drummed hard on the roof of the cafe, attendees were welcomed into the space with a traditional opening from Tla-o-qui-aht teacher, singer, and carver, Dwayne Martin.
CBT Executive Director Rebecca Hurwitz then gave an introduction to Vital Grants, explaining how, as one former grantee pointed out during last year’s grant review process, “small grants make it difficult to address larger issues.” Vital Grants is a new stream of partnership funding to address regional priorities and complex challenges.
Through 4 grants of $20,000 each, the goal is to achieve and integrate all aspects of sustainability – cultural, social, economic, and environmental – in order to meet the mandate of the UNESCO Biosphere designation. The partnership approach is vital to achieving this mandate as grantees bring together the strengths of organizations, cultures, and communities.
Representatives from each grantee project then came forward to talk about the work they’re embarking on, and officially accept letters confirming their Vital Grant. The following organizations and projects were funded:
Carving on the Edge Festival Society – Putting the culture in the hands of our children
The Nuu-chah- nulth Living Archive (nested under the Carving on the Edge Festival Society) will partner with the Language Keepers Society (LKS), cultural educator Gisele Martin, and the University of Victoria Clayoquot Sound Field School to offer intergenerational language and culture programming in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve Region.
Raincoast Education Society – Raincoast Field School at Ucluelet Elementary School
The Raincoast Field School will implement a hands-on outdoor education program at Ucluelet Elementary School on a long-term basis. Raincoast Field School is an outdoor, experiential learning program designed to meet BC curricular learning outcomes taught by trained and experienced Raincoast Education Society staff. Students in Field School learn key aspects of the BC curriculum in a hands-on outdoor setting instead of the classroom. Since its inauguration in June 2014, Raincoast Field School has become a major part of the school community in Tofino, and the program has had many positive impacts on student learning and well being. Working hand in hand with teachers, RES instructors tailor individual lessons for each class in each grade, highlighting specific curricular material in structured activities and field trips.
Surfrider Foundation – 2018 Remote Clean Up Series & Ahousaht Beach Clean Team
Surfrider Pacific Rim will execute six remote shoreline clean up trips in both Clayoquot and Barkley Sound. Each clean up will contain a different theme pertaining to culture and environment, including Nuu-chah- nulth history and worldview, which will cultivate a variety of perspectives on challenging plastic pollution and marine debris. This project will lead to the creation of a beach clean team in Ahousaht who will participate in the remote clean-ups so that these members can continue to organize and execute clean-ups in their territory. To make this team sustainable, Surfrider’s goal is to facilitate the creation of a part-time to full-time paid beach keeper coordinator within the Ahousaht Band.
Westcoast Community Resources Society — Strengthening a Strong Foundation Kliilth Pi-taap Taaqumths Men’s Group
Kliith Pi-taap Taaqumths is the act of stomping on the ground before building a house. It signifies creating a
firm foundation. The men’s group was established by men for men to come together and support one another.
It started organically in Tla-o-qui-aht in recognition that there was no support currently available and has since expanded to include men from other first nations. WCRS and the Vancouver Island Health Authority are partnering with the men’s group to provide cultural activities for men (first nations and non first nations) to promote well-being and build resilience in men.