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Penticton’s En’owkin Centre among recipients of $23.4M provincial funding

‘The support helps our communities restore our Nsyilxcen language’: En’owkin Centre president
Art by the En’owkin Centre’s NAPAT teachers on display at the Penticton Art Gallery in 2020. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Penticton’s En’owkin Centre is one of the many recipients of $23.4 million in funding focused on Indigenous languages from the provincial government.

Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills Selina Robinson visited the centre on Tuesday, July 25 to make the announcement.

“Strengthening Indigenous-led post-secondary education training is a critical step in reconciliation,” said Robinson.

The funding is coming through the StrongerBC program, and will go towards First Nations mandated institutes and language fluency degrees to better preserve Indigenous languages and increase the opportunities for Indigenous peoples.

Robinson met with En’owkin Centre leaders, community members and students during her visit. The centre offers a wide variety of programs, including the Nsyilxcen language-fluency degree; a national Indigenous professional artist training program; and college readiness B.C. adult graduation diploma preparation courses.

The En’owkin Centre was the first institute to offer an Indigenous-language fluency degree through the bachelor of Nsyilxcen language-fluency program with the first group of graduates completing the course in June of 2023.

“Having the minister here in person at the En’owkin Centre to hear directly from community members who have been able to succeed from the support her ministry has provided is valuable on many levels,” said Brian Holmes, En’owkin Centre president. “This action is taking steps forward towards reconciliation. The support helps our communities restore our Nsyilxcen language to be the first language spoken within our communities.”

The funding will be distributed over three years, with $20.1 million directed toward First Nations-mandated institutes and $3 million toward First Nations language-fluency degrees.

An additional $340,000 is being invested into the Chief Joe Mathias British Columbia Aboriginal Scholarship Fund, which has provided more than 450 scholarships to students from more than 100 First Nations in B.C. since 2002.

This funding is part of $101 million from the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan to support several initiatives that shift post-secondary education and training programs from government-led to Indigenous-led, with ongoing funding to bring in more training and job opportunities.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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