First Peoples' Cultural Council

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The First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC) is a First Nations governed Crown Corporation of the province of British Columbia, Canada. It is based in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia on Tsartlip First Nation. The organization was formerly known as the First Peoples' Heritage, Language and Culture Council, but shortened its name in 2012.

Established in 1990 through the First Peoples' Heritage, Language and Culture Act, FPCC has been offering services and programs to support First Nations' language, arts, and culture revitalization in British Columbia.

The mandate of the organization is to:

  • Provide funding to First Nations cultural and language programs
  • Support and advise government and First Nations leadership on initiatives, programs and services related to First Nations arts, language and culture
  • Provide services and resources to help revitalize the cultural legacy of First Nations people
  • Advocate for First Nations heritage and culture

Base funding for FPCC is provided through the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation and further funds are raised through partnerships with public and private agencies (including the New Relationship Trust, the BC Arts Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage).


FPCC pursues its mandate through the following programs:


FirstVoices is an online indigenous language archive that participating communities can independently develop to house their orthography, alphabet, aural dictionaries, phrases, songs and stories. It also offers an interactive language tutor system. Over 60 communities archive their languages on FirstVoices, and 35 of those are open to the public.[1]

Language Tutor

In 2009, FirstVoices launched the FirstVoices Language Tutor, an interactive, online teaching application. The FirstVoices Language Tutor delivers graduated language exercises in vocabulary development, reading comprehension, listening and speaking. Language Tutor lessons are customizable and can be targeted to specific age groups or curriculum. Any word or phrase in an existing FirstVoices language archive can be used in a Language Tutor lesson, or new words and phrases can be added. The Language Tutor also offers a student tracking system that allows teachers to follow the progress of an entire classroom of students.[2]

Language Lab

The FirstVoices Language Lab is an iPad-based language-teaching app designed to deliver FirstVoices Language Tutor lesson content via a stand-alone portable language laboratory. No Internet access is required for the Language Lab to run.

FirstVoices Apps

As of June 2016, FirstVoices has developed 15 interactive dictionary/phrase apps for the iPod, iPad and iPhone, with others currently in development. The apps contain text, audio, image and video content and are available as free downloads from the iTunes store.[3]

FirstVoices Keyboards

FirstVoices Keyboards is an Indigenous language app available for free download on Apple and Android mobile devices. Regular keypads on mobile devices are not capable of generating many of the special characters of Indigenous languages, making texting in these languages impossible for most Indigenous people. FirstVoices Keyboards, an evolution of FirstVoices Chat, allows speakers of over 100 Indigenous languages in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA to use their mobile devices to text, email, use social media, and create documents using keyboards designed for their languages.

Language Programs[edit]

Language and Culture Camps

  • Initiated in 2008, the language and culture camps program creates an opportunity for First Nations' families, Elders, youth and children to be immersed in their languages and cultures. This program is currently on hold due to funding constraints.[3]

Language Nests

  • Language Nests provide language immersion for young children and their families through day-care and after-school care.[4]

Language Revitalization Planning

  • The Language Revitalization Planning Program brings together communities that share a language to design and deliver a language revitalization plan.[5]

Mentor-Apprentice Program

  • The Mentor-Apprentice Program pairs a fluent Elder with a committed learner for one year so that the learner can become fluent and pass the language on to others.[6]

The Aboriginal Languages Initiative (ALI)

  • A federally funded program through the Department of Canadian Heritage, the ALI provides funding for community projects to maintain, revitalize and promote First Nations languages.[7]

The B.C. Languages Initiative (BCLI)

  • The BCLI is a provincially funded program through the First Citizens' Fund.
  • It supports language projects that seek to revitalize Aboriginal languages in British Columbia.[7]

Arts Programs[edit]

The First Peoples' Cultural Council's arts program supports the development of First Nations artists and arts organizations through mentoring, workshops, and organizational capacity building workshops.

Aboriginal Arts Development Award (AADA)

In partnership with The New Relationship Trust and the BC Arts Council, the arts program provides grants to Aboriginal artists, organizations and collectives, with applications accepted each fall.[4]

Applicants may apply for funding in the following areas: Emerging Individual Artists, Sharing Traditional Arts Across generations, Organizations and Collectives, Aboriginal Arts Administrator and Cultural Manager Internships.

Aboriginal Youth Engaged in the Arts (AYEA)

An additional funding stream, Aboriginal Youth Engaged in the Arts (AYEA), is also available to applicants. This stream is for projects and programs that encourage youth between the ages of 15 and 30 to participate in artistic and creative activity that also engages with cultural identity.[8]

Online Arts Toolkit

Supported by 2010 Legacies Now and the Canada Council for the Arts, the online arts toolkit provides Aboriginal artists with access to information and materials that can assist them in their careers, such as a grant writing handbook and an arts portfolio handbook.[9]


In addition to developing programs to assist language revitalization efforts and support artists in First Nations communities, the First Peoples' Cultural Council also develops resources to educate the population of British Columbia about Indigenous languages and their endangered status in B.C.

'The First Peoples' Language Map of British Columbia divides the province of British Columbia by approximate language boundary. It also houses comprehensive data on the First Nations and their languages based on Language Needs Assessments, which are filled out by communities seeking language funding from the First Peoples' Council. The Language Map database continues to grow as communities update and fill out new Language Needs Assessments.[10]

Report on the Status of B.C. First Nations Languages

The 2010 Report on the Status of B.C. First Nations Languages provides concrete data on the state of B.C. First Nations languages, including the number of speakers remaining, the number of students learning the languages, the resources available for each language and information on the language revitalization work being done in the province.[11]

The key findings of the 2010 report include:

  • Fluent First Nations language speakers made up 5% of the reporting population and the majority of those are over the age of 65.
  • People that reported as semi-fluent made up 8% of the reporting population and the level of fluency varies widely among this group.
  • A student enrolled in a First-Nations-operated school spends one to four hours learning a First Nations language per week. However, 34% of students attending a school of this type reported that they are not learning a First Nations language.
  • At their current rate of decline, the majority of First Nations languages could be extinct within five to six years.[11]

The 2014 Report on the Status of B.C. First Nations Languages, Second Edition acted as a follow up examination of the context presented by the 2010 report. Key findings include:

  • In 2014, fluent speakers of First Nations languages made up 4.08% (5,289) of the total population reported.
  • Semi-fluent speakers made up 9.32% (12,092) of the population reported. This is an increase of 3,144 speakers over the 2010 numbers.
  • One in three semi-fluent speakers (29%) is under the age of 25 and 88% of all semi-fluent speakers are under the age of 65.
  • 120 communities (65% of those reporting) have recordings of their language available as a community resource. This number has more than doubled since 2010.[12][13]

Media Coverage[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ FirstVoices
  2. ^ The FirstVoices Language Tutor
  3. ^ "First Peoples' Cultural Council | Language & Culture Camp". Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  4. ^ "First Peoples' Cultural Council | Pre-School Language Nest". Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  5. ^ "First Peoples' Cultural Council | Language Revitalization Planning Program". Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  6. ^ "First Peoples' Cultural Council | Mentor-Apprentice Program". Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ "First Peoples' Cultural Council |". Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ [1], The First Peoples' Council Newsletter, Summer 2009 issue.
  11. ^ a b [2], The 2010 Report on the Status of B.C. First Nations Languages can be downloaded here.
  12. ^ "Report on the Status of B.C. First Nations Languages 2014, Second Edition. Fact Sheet." (PDF). First Peoples` Cultural Council. 2014. 
  13. ^ "Report on the Status of B.C. First Nations Languages 2014, Second Edition" (PDF). First Peoples`Cultural Council. 2014.