NWT On the Land Collaborative has awarded over $840,000 in funding to 48 projects across the territory.
Grants ranging from $3,700 to $40,000 will help connect residents to culture and community through land-based programming.
The collaborative is committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of communities, families and individuals through on-the-land programming. The organization is a partnership among Indigenous governments representatives, administrators, as well as non-profits, industry and government as funding partners.
Recipients ranging from schools and municipal governments to community groups and non-governmental organizations will carry out programming in all regions of the NWT.
The Tree of Peace Friendship Centre is one such recipient that will put its $15,000 grant towards youth camps at Akaitcho during summer and winter months.
Having received the grant last year to carry out the same programming, Christina Moore, the Indigenous youth worker at the Tree of Peace Friendship centre, said the on-the-land activities are a way of empowering youth through traditional skills and knowledge.
The camp is an opportunity to promote cultural understanding of Dene ways of life and encouraging environmental respect and responsibility, Moore said.
“It’s connecting with others, with the land, with Elders, with culture, it ties in with understanding your own personal and cultural identity, which is empowering,” she said.
In this case, youth are groups of 14 to 24 year olds who will be preparing traditional foods, going on nature and medicine walks, checking fishnets and listening to stories with Elders.
Other grant recipients include the Sahtu Renewable Resources Board for a Sahtu Youth Network canoe trip; Setsi’e Frederick Daycare in Hay River, which will host youth and Elder rabbit snaring; a Dehcho First Nations community camp in the Edzéhzı́e Protected Area; and winter camping excursions for Chief Paul Niditchie students in Tsiigehtchic, among others.
In addition to financial support, the On the Land Collaborative is providing some grant recipients with equipment, training and program support.
Since its inception in 2015, the organization has distributed over $4.5 million to 270 projects across the territory.