Bank of Montreal (BMO) announced contributions to Indigenous cultural and educational initiatives at three organizations on Thursday, June 15, 2023.
This year BMO is donating $800,000 to three organizations focused on education and cultural reclamation through the development of self determination and leadership, equity in education and the preservation and promotion of Indigenous culture and history, including: Ka Ni Kanichihk, Teach For Canada–Gakinaamaage, and Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford.
“Since 1992, BMO has built a strong presence with deep roots in hundreds of Indigenous communities across Canada, and we value the tremendous trust placed in us as we make progress together toward a brighter future,” said Mike Bonner, Head, Canadian Business Banking, and Co-Chair, BMO Indigenous Advisory Council. “While our commitment to Indigenous customers and communities is part of how we do business every day, each year we welcome the opportunity to mark National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day in meaningful ways through our support of key initiatives and by continuing to innovate to serve Indigenous colleagues, customers and communities.”
- Ka Ni Kanichihk, a Winnipeg, Manitoba-based organization that focuses on Indigenous- led education, mentorship, job-skills training, prevention and intervention programs that support participants to heal, thrive and become leaders. BMO’s gift will support the Home for Reconciliation capital expansion initiative, ensuring thousands more can access programs and supports in 2024.
- Teach For Canada–Gakinaamaage, an organization that works with northern First Nations to recruit, prepare, and support committed teachers, in order to begin to make education more equal. Teach For Canada–Gakinaamaage educators work in 26 partner First Nations in Northern Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Their inspirational approach to teaching and leadership is increasing student attendance, student engagement, and student achievement. BMO’s gift will help Teach For Canada–Gakinaamaage expand to 19 additional partner First Nations.
- Woodland Cultural Centre (WCC), a Brantford, Ontario-based centre that works to preserve, promote, and strengthen Indigenous languages, culture, art and history; bringing the story of the Hodinohsho:ni people of the Eastern Woodlands to life through innovative exhibitions and programs. BMO’s gift will contribute to the building of a new state-of-the-art Cultural Centre.
“Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to BMO for their invaluable contribution to building a community that celebrates diversity, ensures inclusivity and offers equitable opportunities,” said Dodie Jordaan, Executive Director, Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc. “Their support will create the infrastructure to empower Indigenous communities in Winnipeg and the region, fostering a brighter future for all.”
“The support from BMO has had a meaningful impact on the growth of Teach For Canada–Gakinaamaage from a vision into a national organization. Together, our work has built partnerships with First Nations to recruit and retain teachers and invest in local capacity,” said Ken Sanderson, Executive Director, Teach For Canada–Gakinaamaage. “By supporting Indigenous control of Indigenous education, the work we do increases access to transformative education for First Nations youth and their leadership potential, grounded in a stronger sense of who they are, that will have impacts across Turtle Island and the world.”
“Gratitude is a foundational philosophy for Hodinohsho:ni , gratitude to the natural world, gratitude for our teachers and community leaders, gratitude to the creator,” said Heather George, Executive Director, Woodland Cultural Centre. “The generous support of organizations such as BMO to Woodland Cultural Centre is another opportunity to express our deepest gratitude as we could not move forward on our path of healing, culture building and celebration without this contribution. Niawen:kowa (big / great thanks) to everyone at BMO for your ongoing commitment to reconciliation.”
“We’re honoured to demonstrate our commitment to advancing Truth and Reconciliation through the key pillars of education, employment and economic empowerment by supporting vital and culturally relevant initiatives like these,” said Clio Straram, Head, BMO Indigenous Banking Unit. “As a member of Fond du Lac First Nation in Saskatchewan, I’m especially pleased to be supporting organizations that focus on bringing quality education to Indigenous communities, developing leaders, encouraging self-determination, and preserving and teaching Indigenous histories and cultures.”