Funding Truth and Reconciliation at Q’shintul/Mill Bay Nature School


A committed group of parents at Q'shintul have formed the Truth & Reconciliation Committee; they are actively seeking to understand how to fund this ethical and timely work. Below is a message sent by Kim Ondrik to the Committee which outlines our vision and direction which is both aspirational and becoming a hopeful reality - "things take the time they take."

Now that we are having elders and knowledge keepers approach Q’shintul/MBNS to share their wisdom, language and culture with our community/village, we are faced with the challenge of properly funding their work.  It seems strange, but there are no T and R funds (at this point) to draw from.  I wrote and received a grant from Artstarts ($6200) to fund the beginnings of a mural at our school which reflects Delilah’s land acknowledgement.  A lot of individual initiative is involved to make this work happen … I am whole-heartedly commited to it.

The Ministry of Education funds this kind of work by providing funds per student (with indigenous ancestry); between $50-$60 per child.  This year we have 21 students who self-identify as indigenous; providing $1050 – $1260 to Q’shintul/MBNS.  Last year we spent between $7000 to $8000 on funding the time gifted to us by elders and knowledge keepers.  Some of this money was provided by a Vancouver Foundation Grant ($20,000) which we received in June 2020.  

This year, we know that we need support with Hulq’umi’num’ language learning for our students (particularly those in Smuqw’a’ – as a second language is required by the BC Curriculum), and we know that our children and adults are hungry for more teaching and learning from elders and knowledge keepers – and they are excited to work alongside us – as we have demonstrated a deep commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.  

Already, we are spending $600 a week on our drumming circle leads and our friday knowledge keeper guest from Penelakut.  I will also be applying for another Vancouver Foundation Grant when the granting cycle opens (uncertain at the moment).

I would like to propose that we focus our fundraising capacities on Truth and Reconciliation Work at MBNS.  (I’ve also been wondering about the possibility of having families donate funds to this work every month … maybe even some sort of crowd funding ?!  With 180 children at our school and over 15 staff now, we could raise $2000 a month if everyone donated $10.)  I will also continue to look for funders to support your efforts.