Header Image

Questions and Answers

What is the First Peoples’ Cultural Council? Why was the First Peoples’ Cultural Council created? Who benefits from the First Peoples’ Cultural Council programs and services? Read on to learn more about this dynamic organization.

1. What is the First Peoples’ Cultural Council?

The First Peoples’ Cultural Council is a First Nations’ governed B.C. crown corporation. It was established in 1990 through legislation designed to protect B.C. indigenous language, arts and cultures from extinction.

It does this by:
  • Providing funding to First Nations culture and language programs.
  • Providing services and resources for the revitalization of B.C. First Nations languages, arts and culture.
  • Providing support and training for communities to archive their languages through FirstVoices.com
  • Advocating for B.C. First Nations languages, arts and cultures.
2. Who benefits from the First Peoples’ Cultural Council programs and services?

People in First Nations communities across the province of B.C. benefit from the work of First Peoples’ Cultural Council. Our main stakeholders are the 203 Indigenous communities throughout the province.

We provide arts and language funding, consultation, guidance and support in collaboration with these communities. Our programs are based on community consultation through an advisory committee, peer review process and special workshops.

In addition, we support and advise First Nations leadership on initiatives, programs and services related to First Nations arts, languages, heritage and cultures.

We also advise government on programs and issues related to First Nations arts, language, heritage and culture.

3. Why is it important to work for the revitalization of First Nations arts, cultures and languages?

In the past, governments chose a course of assimilation through residential schools for First Nations children. This led to First Nations being prevented from practicing and passing on their languages, arts and cultures.

Reconciliation of these past government actions and support for First Nations to recover and improve the health of their cultures is now underway.

Today, B.C. is home to 34 First Nations language groups and 61 dialects. These languages reflect distinctive histories, cultures and identities linked to family, community, the land and traditional knowledge.

We recognize the urgent need to document and archive languages. Most fluent Aboriginal speakers are age 60 or older, and their languages could be lost forever when the last speaker dies.

Of the 34 remaining First Nations languages in B.C., 13 are spoken by fewer than 50 people each. For this reason, linguists include B.C. on a list of the five global hot spots for language extinction.

An equal urgency exists in capturing the arts and cultural expression and values embodied in the knowledge of our Elders.

Assisting emerging artists is essential to keeping B.C. First Nations art traditions alive as is supporting the development of artists’ unique expression that reflects their reality today. In addition, showcasing the arts and cultures of First Nations helps attract tourists to the province.

National Geographic Enduring Voices: Language Hotspots

4. What are the primary programs/services of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council?

The First Peoples’ Cultural Council has developed a number of programs that support language, arts and culture revitalization. They are as follows:
  • The Aboriginal Arts Development Awards: in partnership with the BC Arts Council supports the creative or professional development of Aboriginal artists and/or the sharing of traditional knowledge.
  • The B.C. Language Initiative: supports projects to revitalize British Columbia First Nations languages through documentation, immersion programs, material and curriculum development, research, traditional and cultural programming, and community collaboration. First Nations communities and organizations are eligible to submit proposals.
  • First Peoples' Language Map: Interactive map that provides information about B.C.'s First Nations languages, communities, and community champions in the revitalization of languages and arts.
  • FirstVoices: is an online indigenous language resource developed by First Peoples’ 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.
  • Language Immersion and Planning Programs: The Pre-school Language Nest, Mentor-Apprentice and Language Authority and Language Plan Development programs support language revitalization through effective immersion practices, collaboration and strategic language planning.
  • Aboriginal Languages Initiative: is a federal program funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage. ALI provides funding support for community and regionally based projects directed at maintaining, revitalizing and promoting First Nations languages.
More info:
First Peoples' Language Map
Bookmark and Share