Letter Writing Campaign
In support of Autonomous Sinixt we are asking that you take action by writing to the First Peoples’ Cultural Council.
The First Peoples’ Cultural Council recently made a decision to deny any future funding to the Autonomous Sinixt.
FPCC dismissed the Autonomous Sinixt qualifications for funding (without opportunity for further discussion) based on “unmet criteria” –namely that the “FPCC requires grant applicants to have support from B.C. First Nations communities or community-based First Nations-led organizations that represent the areas in which the application applies.”
We ask that you write to the First Peoples’ Cultural Council to express your disappointment in their organization’s recent decision that will negatively impact important language revitalization work, acting to further erase Autonomous Sinixt from the landscape and from their own təmxʷúlaʔxʷ.
Email the following employees from First Peoples’ Cultural Council and share how you feel:
Heritage Program Manager
Executive Assistant to Tracey Herbert (Executive Director)
Copy & Paste the included template into your email, and send to the relevant recipients above.
Please bcc us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Key points to consider when challenging the dismissal of funding from the FPCC to Autonomous Sinixt:
- The unfair dismissal of funding under the basis of “unmet criteria,” namely the lack of support of other recognized B.C. First Nations of this region.
- The challenges of obtaining government funding as a nation that has been declared extinct for the purposes of the Indian Act.
- Current Land Claim disputes on Sinixt təmxʷúlaʔxʷ?.
- The work that Autonomous Sinixt does within the community
- The number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people Autonomous Sinixt employs within the community and how the FPCC’s withdrawl of previously confirmed funding being cut months later, has a direct impact on the community.
- FPCC’s public commitment to decolonize British Columbia’s Heritage-Related Process and Legislation.
- FPCC’s public commitment to uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action in informing their assessment and recommendations.
- FPCC’s public statement that legal traditions and jurisdiction of Indigenous Peoples needs to be acknowledged.
I am writing to express my disappointment in the First Peoples’ Cultural Council in their recent decision to deny funding to the Autonomous Sinixt.
It has come to my attention that Autonomous Sinixt were given a written dismissal of qualification for funding (without opportunity for further discussion) based on “unmet criteria” –namely that the “FPCC requires grant applicants to have support from B.C. First Nations communities or community-based First Nations-led organizations that represent the areas in which the application applies.”
I am curious to know if the FPCC is aware of the multiple land claims currently being disputed here on traditional, unceded Sinixt təmxʷúlaʔxʷ? If so, did the FPCC consider how this might impact or undermine the support of B.C. First Nations in this region who might have something to lose in recognizing Autonomous Sinixt and their distinct dialect?
In 2019, the FPCC released a Policy paper entitled, Recognizing and Including Indigenous Cultural Heritage in B.C. prepared by Karen Aird, Gretchen Fox, and Angie Bain on behalf of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. Section 3.1 of this document on Identity and Social Cohesion states that “identities are formed in practice through ongoing interactions with others, with the land, with the past, and with visions of the future.”
It is in my opinion that Autonomous Sinixt has and continues to assert their identity and social cohesion through strong relationships with the community. The unveiling of the ʔitx̌ʷaʔ (camas) signage with the City of Trail was a beautiful example of a an act of decolonization by a local government. Just this past year, the City if Rossland re-named a popular trail, Mxiɬp, after the Snslxcin word for Cedar. Language is an important tool of social change and for ensuring the continuation of culture, customs and history. The language revitalization program that FPCC will no longer be funding with this recent decision, will negatively impact this important work, acting to further erase Autonomous Sinixt from the landscape and from their own təmxʷúlaʔxʷ.
If you have a personal experience with Sinixt language work (e.g., the printed map, Not Extinct book, Keeping the Sinixt Way website, or any other language and cultural work please include that and what that means to you. This goes a long way towards demonstrating community support and engagement)
Please respond with how you intend to move forward with this matter.
Lim Limpt (thank you),
(Sign Your Full Name, Address & Postal Code, and Telephone Number)