Giving with Intention: $600,000 to Advance Truth and Reconciliation
To commemorate the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, BMO today announced $600,000 in donations to Indigenous organizations across Canada. Selected in consultation with BMO’s Indigenous Advisory Council, several of the Indigenous-led organizations focus on promoting emotional and spiritual healing for Survivors, their families and communities; while others focus on advancing cultural reclamation, such as language and traditional, land-based learning. All play an important role in the journey toward Truth and Reconciliation.
“As we prepare to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we reflect on the challenge of overcoming the damage done to generations of Indigenous children, families, communities and cultures by the Indian Residential School System in Canada,” said Mike Bonner, Head, Canadian Business Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal and Co-Chair, BMO Indigenous Advisory Council. “These donations recognize the need for a holistic approach to empowerment and reflect the ongoing, collaborative partnership that underlies BMO’s relationship with Indigenous communities. They also embody our Purpose: to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life by building vibrant communities for a brighter and a more inclusive future – and advancing the call of Truth and Reconciliation across Canada.”
“We thank BMO for their support of the Na-mi-quai-ni-mak Fund,” said Stephanie Scott, Executive Director for the NCTR. “This donation is an investment in the healing of Survivors and their communities. For the country to move forward together, our communities need to heal. The Na-mi-quai-ni-mak program plays an important role in this healing.”
Remembering the past, healing today for tomorrow, renewing Indigenous culture and self-determination – the following organizations have received donations:
- The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) will receive a $250,000 one-time donation for its Na-mi-quai-ni-mak (“I remember them”) Centre Community Support Fund, which provides grants to Indigenous communities for memorial and healing activities such as community-led ceremonies and feasts, commemorative markers, such as gardens and plaques, and maintenance of burial sites. The fund is the only one of its kind in Canada that is national, Indigenous-led and accessible to all Indigenous communities. NCTR helps promote public education and understanding of the Schools as well as the wider assault on the cultures and identities of Indigenous Peoples and is home to the statements, sacred objects and other materials Survivors of Residential Schools gave to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and beyond.
- The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation, for the construction of a 128-bed long-term-care home.
- The Gitpo Spirit Lodge, a Men’s Wellness facility located in Natoaganeg (Eel Ground First Nation), NB. The centre provides programs that are culturally relevant to the physical, emotional and spiritual well being of the Indigenous men in our communities.
- Kaska Dena Youth Camp, which is run by the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning, and provides an opportunity for youth in the northern Dena community of Tu Łidlini, or Ross River, in the Yukon, to reconnect with their culture and Elders.
- Indspire, an Indigenous-led charity that invests in access to education through scholarships and programs that support Indigenous students nationwide.
- The Indigenous Learning Centre, established by the AFOA Canada (formerly known as the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada), which offers scholarships to First Nation, Inuit and Métis persons wishing to further their education in finance, management and governance.
- The Orange Shirt Society, which is dedicated to honouring the Survivors of Residential Schools and raising awareness through education. This donation is complemented by proceeds from orange t-shirts worn by BMO employees that will also be directed to the Orange Shirt Society.
On September 30, along with the rest of Canada, BMO’s employees in Canada will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as an occasion to reflect on our shared history and its impacts and reaffirm our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. Learn more in Wîcihitowin ᐑᒋᐦᐃᑐᐏᐣ, BMO’s first annual Indigenous Partnerships and Progress Report.