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Dreams realized in 2000 (Canada Millennium Partnership Program).

By Joan Black

Windspeaker Staff Writer

OTTAWA

It's still not too late to tap into the Canada Milennium Partnership Program, a $145 million, five-phase federal initiative set up to help Canadians mark the start of the millennium.

You have until March 1, 2000 to apply for partial funding of community, national or international activities that celebrate the millennium and carry some benefit into the year 2000. Your project must relate to one or more of the following four themes: arts and culture, youth, history or environment.

According to Pierre Marquis, senior communications advisor with the bureau, the government will announce approved phase 3 projects in late September. The two remaining deadlines for submitting applications are Oct. 31 for phase 4 and March 1, 2000 for phase 5.

Only registered, non-governmental Canadian organizations or associations are eligible. If just one or a few people have an idea, they must be able to demonstrate they have the support of the group they purport to represent, Marquis says.

Your idea must be non-commercial and it must increase or complement a project or activity that is already ongoing. New infrastructure will not be funded, with the possible exception of heritage building restoration.

The federal governement, through the Millennium Bureau of Canada, will pay up to one-third the cost of approved projects. Marquis says 26 of the 338 projects that were approved as of Aug. 16 are identified as "Aboriginal" by the bureau. These 26 get $2,619,313 from the Canada Milennium Partnership Program towards their estimated total project cost of $14,989,690.

Windspeaker spoke to some people whose projects have received a financial boost by the program. According to Ellen Stewart, spokeswoman for The Sioux Lookout Anti-Racism Committee, which is sponsoring Action-Youth Initiatives 2000, the program gives youth living in remote areas of northwestern Ontario a chance to learn about other cultures and gain a critical understanding of social, economic, cultural, human rights and other issues affecting them at home and abroad.

"More than that," Stewart said, "kids will learn how they can make a difference in their communities and how they can make an impact for social change."

One of two projects will bring 100 speakers and high school students from all over northwestern Ontario to a conference called Five Days for the Future.

"The youth will gain insight into major societal issues and our interdependence and need to work together to shape a better world," Stewart said. Students will also develop leadership skills they will be encouraged to apply to social action initiatives at home. The other project, Global Connections, will enable Grades 4 to 8 students to connect with other Indigenous youth around the world via computer. The culmination of the project will be a World's Fair event in Sioux Lookout that will bring participating students together.

The Canadian Aboriginal Festival, in Brantford, Ont. is another organization targeting its program grant and millennium project to youth.

Ron Robert, a Metis spokesman for the group, says they will hold approximately a week's educational days to teach 50,000 non-Native students about Aboriginal culture. The highlight of the event will be two days at Toronto's Skydome. Other venues being considered include Quebec City or Hull, Vancouver, and locations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Rosie Chrisjohn, an Oneida from the Oneida reserve near London, Ont., is looking after sound and education for the project.

"I see a lot of benefit for the children coming up," she said. "It is run by Natives, for one thing, and it is providing an education to kids about moving on." She explained the youth will learn they can retain their cultural identity at the same time as they are acquiring modern skills and fully participating as Canadian and global citizens.

"The best thing about the way we are doing it is that it will be in the traditional way with our storytelling and history from legends rather than books," Chrisjohn pointed out. The Aboriginal teaching circles will occur between October 1999 and June 2000.

Ken Madsen, representing Friends of Yukon Rivers, talked about the Caribou Commons Project, under the banner of Arts and Culture. He said their project, which involves the collaboration of the Gwich'in, musicians, visual artists and filmmarkers, is meant to deliver a multimedia presentation on the theme of preserving Gwich'in heritage, culture and environment. North Americans will be educated about protecting the 160,000 strong Porcupine caribou herd's endangered Arctic habitat. The group has the "full support" of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, Madsen said.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Black, Joan
Publication:Wind Speaker
Date:Sep 1, 1999
Words:751
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