By Kimberly Taylor, November 27 2023—
The Office of Indigenous Engagement offers funding for projects that highlight and support Indigenous ways of knowing, being and connecting through Intercultural Capacity Building Grants. Intercultural capacity is the ability to communicate and engage appropriately and authentically across cultural differences. These grants are given to projects that will build intercultural capacity within the university community and beyond.
In an interview with The Gauntlet, Gerald Ratt from the Office of Indigenous Engagement stated that anyone can apply for a grant, whether for a group project or as an individual. All projects, however, need to align with the goals and values of the ii’taa’poh’to’p Indigenous Strategy. The grants were launched in 2017 along with the strategy in response to the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“I hope participants are more involved with Indigenous engagement and that they continue to build relationships that support intercultural capacity building on campus but also off campus,” said Ratt. “I think that when we can come together to celebrate our differences, we become more of a community and can provide a safe environment for all knowledge systems to come together in a shared ethical space where we can learn from one another and what it means to have more of a diverse community.”
Since the launch of the grants have supported 32 projects and allocated $290,300. Completed projects include Water Movement, Education for Reconciliation: Decolonizing the Design Studio, Wagonstage Theatre: Koko’Sinooniks & Neighborhood adventure, Books to Build On and many others. Ratt explained that all projects participate in a pipe ceremony after being approved for the grant, and a second pipe ceremony upon completion.
“Successful projects are also required to participate in a pipe ceremony where they give an oral presentation of their project but they also have to participate in a second pipe ceremony where they provide an oral summary of their completed project,” said Ratt. “This is significant because it’s the oral way of the indigenous community. We have a written system but we also want to respect the oral system from the Indigenous community.”
The grants are ongoing, with five new projects accepted every year after an adjudication process. Projects can receive up to $10,000 in funding from the Office of Indigenous Engagement. Ratt spoke about the rewarding and challenging process of adjudicating project proposals.
“The selection committee is appointed by the vice provost of Indigenous Engagement. We review all project proposals and evaluate their alignment to the principles and recommendations of ii’taa’poh’to’p’ and we also focus on the potential impact on the campus community with respect to intercultural capacity building,” said Ratt.
For those interested in applying, the application process opens in the spring with a deadline in mid-June. Applicants will hear back before the end of July.
For more information visit the Intercultural Capacity Building grants website.