Indigenous-driven solutions lead the way on Path Forward
VICTORIA – To support B.C.’s commitment to end violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, the B.C. government has provided a grant of $5.5 million to continue the Path Forward Community Fund managed by the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC).
The Path Forward Community Fund provides funding for community safety planning and capacity building, and to ensure the self-determination of Indigenous communities to address violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLBGTQQIA+ people.
“Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people experience violence at a much higher rate than other populations,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Understanding and breaking down the underlying and systemic causes of violence is key to our government’s work toward lasting reconciliation and advancing gender equality, and this funding will serve to further that work.”
The grant is in addition to the foundational investment of $5.3 million made in 2022 to respond to priorities identified through Indigenous community engagement. The top priority was to create a Path Forward Community Fund that is accessible to First Nations communities, urban and off-reserve communities, Métis, Inuit citizens and 2SLBGTQQIA+ communities, so that Indigenous communities could create culturally safe and appropriate solutions for issues that result in violence.
To date, the Path Forward Community Fund has supported 33 Indigenous-led community projects addressing Indigenous-specific systemic causes of gender-based violence.
“There is an urgent and critical need to end the disproportionate violence faced by Indigenous women, girls and 2SLBGTQQIA+ people, and the Path Forward Community Fund is a key part of supporting the leadership of First Nations and Indigenous communities to find solutions that work for them,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “This funding and partnership with the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres shows B.C.’s commitment toward addressing the recommendations in Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”
In addition to the Path Forward Community Fund grant, the Province has released a June 2023 status update for A Path Forward: Priorities and Early Strategies. A Path Forward is part of the B.C. government’s response to the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
B.C.’s A Path Forward reflects community-based priorities and sets a foundation with strategies to end violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLBGTQQIA+ people. A Path Forward includes 28 provincial government mandate-letter commitments that align with the Reclaiming Power and Place report.
The release of the June 2023 A Path Forward report coincides with the fourth anniversary of the Reclaiming Power and Place report, and further demonstrates B.C.’s commitment to ending violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLBGTQQIA+ people throughout the province.
Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity –
“Ending violence against Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people is all of our responsibility. The Path Forward Community Fund supports Indigenous-led projects that create healing and safety for people and their families. We support everyone on this path with compassion, respect and our commitment to lasting reconciliation.”
Leslie Varley, executive director, BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres –
“The Path Forward Community Fund has enabled more than 30 groups across B.C. to deliver culturally safe programming to Indigenous community members addressing gender-based violence. Communities were able to design programs that would best address their specific and local needs in creative and responsive ways. A significant number of proposals focused on helping women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people access cultural teachings, which we know is vital to both healing and violence prevention. We are proud to partner with the B.C. government on such an important and Indigenous-led initiative.”
- In 2019, the Province committed to the development of A Path Forward to end violence and support Indigenous-led community dialogue sessions with Indigenous organizations, survivors, family members and leaders to inform this work.
- Since 2022, government has invested more than $10.8 million to support the Path Forward Community Fund.
- The BCAAFC was selected through a competitive procurement process to design and manage the fund, and the selection panel included three Indigenous women external to government and two government staff.
- The Province continues to work in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous Peoples throughout B.C. to implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan, and another annual report will be provided in 2023.
For information about the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC), visit: https://bcaafc.com/
To read the 2023 Path Forward Report, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/law-crime-and-justice/about-bc-justice-system/inquiries/mmiw/mmiwg-status-update-2023.pdf
For information about public inquiries in B.C., visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/about-bcs-justice-system/inquiries
To read the Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, visit: https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect