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Indigenous Development Program

PWRDF supports and accompanies Indigenous communities and organizations through our Indigenous Development Program. 

In 2021, we developed the Responsive Program and grant application in consultation with our Indigenous Program Advisory Committee (IPAC). Indigenous-led communities or organizations are invited to apply for a grant from the Responsive Program in the amount of $5,000 to $15,000, for programming that supports safe water, youth engagement, community health and/or climate action. We encourage applications for new initiatives or pilot projects. ​

Through this Responsive Program grant, PWRDF aims to grow our overall Indigenous Development Program and ​enhance our institutional relationships and partnerships with programs that are Indigenous-led and help us to learn from and with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities across Canada.

Indigenous Development Program Background

The PWRDF Indigenous Development Program promotes partnerships based on recognition, respect and support for the rights and wellbeing of the Indigenous partners. 

PWRDF Indigenous work responds to:

  • the needs and priorities identified by Indigenous partners and by the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) report.
  • the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
  • the Recommendations of the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action.

The Indigenous Development Program was designed with the information from a series of visits and consultations to Indigenous partners in late 1996 and early 1997. Further consultations in 2005 as part of the external evaluation to the program, as well as during the 2006 face-to-face Indigenous partners conference in Ontario and the 2011 Indigenous Partners Roundtable in Alberta reaffirmed the program responds to needs and priorities in Indigenous communities.

PWRDF will continue to support Indigenous programs and communities as per one of our five goals in our 2019 – 2024 Strategic Plan, namely, “to accompany and support First Nations, Métis and Inuit people on our mutual path of reconciliation.”

In 2020, PWRDF established the Indigenous Program Advisory Committee (IPAC) to provide guidance and advice to staff on ways by which to support priorities of Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada. PWRDF is working hard to secure new venues of funding to our Indigenous Development Program as result of current strategic discussions and alliances with other financial and funding organizations, and Anglicans in Canada.

Indigenous Development Program Goals

  • To support programming in Canada that promotes community health, youth engagement, safe water and climate justice.
  • To foster respectful relationship, collaboration and understanding

Partnership Principles

Recognition, respect and support for the rights, according to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), of PWRDF’s Indigenous partners:

1. The Role and Contribution of Indigenous Peoples

  • Recognize their unique and traditional role in protecting their environment and managing their resources.
  • Respect their knowledge and skills in such areas as ecology and conservation.
  • Acknowledge their potential in relation to defining, implementing and managing activities related to their empowerment, self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
  • Consider that the quality of the lives of Indigenous peoples should be of foremost importance.
  • Regard Indigenous peoples as equal partners in any development process.
  • Recognize their role as architects for their own destiny through a culturally appropriate sustainable development strategy.

2. Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

  • Recognize and do not violate the traditional rights of Indigenous peoples both urban and rural.
  • Give urgent attention to outstanding land claims issues.
  • Recognize and respect the rights of Indigenous peoples pertaining to the protection and conservation of their natural and cultural resources.
  • Recognize and support the rights of Indigenous peoples both urban and rural to live in a healthy environment and maintain their culture and/or traditional lifestyles.

3. Culture and Heritage

  • Preserve and safeguard the culture and heritage of Indigenous peoples.
  • Respect and embrace their values and cultural heritage.
  • Indigenous peoples should determine what elements constitute their cultural heritage.

4. Approaches to Development Strategies

  • Ensure collaboration and partnership between PWRDF and Indigenous communities.
  • Involve Indigenous peoples in all aspects of the planning, execution, management, monitoring and evaluation aspects of any project.
  • Any project submitted to PWRDF should aim at creating a positive impact on Indigenous peoples’ lives.
  • Ensure that any project should implement an effective system of consultation and participation for the intended beneficiaries.
  • Recognize that Indigenous peoples, collectively and individually, are active subjects of the right to development. They often are denied the right to their own economic, social, cultural, and political development. In addition, the right to development must include principles pertaining to equitable development and to safeguarding the integrity of the environment.

5. Empowerment of Indigenous Peoples

  • It is important to ensure that the implementation of any project allows for the empowerment of Indigenous peoples.
  • Empowerment approaches enable people, and their organizations, to develop the tools and social structures for managing and transforming vertical or unbalanced power relations which are foreign to their traditional culture.
  • Such empowerment tools and structures entail mutually reinforcing processes that include the following: coalition formation; gaining control over resources, production and benefits; developing skills and strategies; increasing knowledge and information; building and maintaining identity and tradition; and revitalization of social, spiritual and political structures and organizations.
  • Empowerment and culture form the very foundation of broad-base, sustainable development.

6. Indigenous Peoples’ Perspective on Development: Fundamental Principles of Good Living

  • Indigenous peoples’ perspective on development is based on a holistic philosophy strengthened by the values of reciprocity, complementarity, solidarity, equilibrium and collectivity.
  • Understanding that humans should live within the limits of the natural world and in harmony with Mother Earth. It builds on tradition, with respect for ancestors, but is also forward-looking. It includes social, cultural, political and spiritual systems.

Operational Principles

  • Transparent
  • Impartial and equitable
  • Respect to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Complements other development assistance to Indigenous communities in Canada
  • Facilitates implementation of Indigenous peoples’ agenda towards self-sufficiency
  • Includes intended beneficiaries into the participatory process of designing and implementing community development projects
  • Environmentally appropriate
  • Responsive to needs as expressed by and for women and youth
  • Sustainable
  • Micro-, rather than macro-economic; Indigenous economic activities are encouraged, practiced and maintained

Gender and Development Approach

  • PWRDF’s Indigenous Development Program incorporates a gender approach towards development within the general framework of sustainable development, health and participation through equity.
  • Working from a gender approach means analyzing inequity in social relations between men and women. The goal is to achieve balance and equity in gender relations and to participate in the redistribution of power and decision-making processes. Gender analysis is carried out through the definition of access to and control of resources, and the evaluation of practical needs and strategic interests by gender.
  • At the beginning of any activity, a gender analysis must be integrated into the planning process so as to identify the particular implications of specific contextual problems of development and participation for women and men, and for relations between them.
  • The gender analysis is an ongoing activity conducted at the key points of a project’s planning cycle. Gender-related objectives deriving from this analysis can be formulated, providing the basis for a specific agenda.
  • It should be underscored that the incorporation of the gender approach will not be achieved without consultation and participation of women in all the phases of the project. The objective is to strengthen their capacity to participate in directing and implementing activities related to the empowerment, self-sufficiency and self-reliance of Indigenous peoples.