NP-UN Western Bureau
All ethnocultural groups will be eligible to apply for a grant from a new $1-million Alberta program to help Indigenous and ethnocultural communities preserve and share their history, says Jason Luan, Minister of Culture.
“It’s not just for visible minorities,” he said responding to a question from NP-UN Western Bureau Chief Marco Levytsky during a virtual round table with ethnocultural media, April 29.
“It is (for those) from Europe, the most recent ones from Ukraine and they’re all part of eligible groups here. The focus is to bring communities together. The focus is to open up the doors so that everybody has a chance to contribute, to say ‘we were here’,” he added.
Levytsky had noted that when announcing the Premier’s Council on Multiculturalism April 13, the government referred to “cultural groups of different backgrounds (visible minorities)” and asked how the government would define ethnocultural groups for the purpose of this program. Would it be for any specific groups or for everybody.
The Cultural Heritage Initiatives Grant is meant to increase community and public access to the history of ethnocultural and Indigenous communities by helping non-profit organizations document and showcase their communities’ cultural heritage with an emphasis on historically under-represented parts of Alberta’s story.
The grant provides up to $25,000 per project on a matching basis. An applicant must contribute to the project with an amount that at least equals the grant provided. Organizations with demonstrated financial need can request a non-matching grant up to $10,000. World FM Ukrainian Program Director and NP-UN Western Bureau staff member Yulianna Voloshyna asked whether a community could apply for a grant a couple of times year and whether it’s possible to use this program for Edmonton’s Heritage Festival.
Anne Davidson, Executive Director of the Community Engagement Branch of Alberta Culture said that organizations are eligible to apply once a year. There are about 25,000 non-profit organization in Alberta and “we want to ensure that there is equitability across the province.”
As for Heritage Days, she said that a number of communities have already documented their stories they put them on video and put them in some type of digital format.
“So, if you are looking at using Heritage Days as a venue to showcase what has already been documented in terms of cultural history, then potentially that project would be eligible. So, it’s both a combination of how do we document as well as how do we create accessibility for these stories that already have been documented.”
Eligible non-profit organizations can apply for the Cultural Heritage Initiatives Grant for projects that:
• Support the development, documentation or digitization of stories, histories and cultural practices of Alberta-based ethnocultural or Indigenous communities.
• Publicly share the information, as appropriate, through a variety of media.
• Increase public access, as appropriate, of already developed, documented or digitized historical or heritage projects of Indigenous and ethnocultural communities.
There will be three application intakes each year – on Jan.15, May 15 and Sept. 15 – with the first intake for this year on Sept. 15.
“Alberta is a land of opportunity, made stronger by each of those who have chosen to call our province home. It’s important for Indigenous and ethnocultural communities to be able to share their histories and stories with their children and all Albertans. I’m looking forward to how these grants will help us all become more understanding and united,” said Premier Danielle Smith.
“Indigenous and ethnocultural communities inspire us with their stories of strength, resilience and steadfast commitment to overcoming obstacles. This grant provides an important opportunity to document and tell these stories to Albertans so we can all learn how their experiences and achievements have shaped, and continue to shape, our province,” noted Luan.