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Spirit North funding annoucement now expected any day

Indigenous Services Canada annouces new timeline for funding annoucement

It now appears Spirit North organizers may hear from the federal government as early as today (Wednesday, Sept. 19) if its application for funding for the coming year was successful.

If the charitable organization does receive the money, it will mean its Indigenous youth program, which started last year, will continue in three B.C. communities, Penticton, Smithers and Terrace.

Initially (Western News, Sept. 14) Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) indicated the funding announcement would be in the “coming weeks,” however, a department official said later that day a more accurate timeline was identified for notification.

Related: Indigenous youth program offered in Penticton is in jeopardy

Spirit North CEO Beckie Scott became worried earlier this year when she hadn’t heard from ISC about the application and when she did hear back from government officials, the news was not good.

“We’re just crossing our fingers right now,” Scott said this week after learning notification would be coming soon. The Spirit North program touched over 1,500 Indigenous kids and their families through land-based recreation activities — in particular cross country skiing — in its pilot year running from September 2017 to last March.

About 300 students from Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School and West Bench Elementary School and their families took part in the inaugural program here which included time at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre.

Related: Sharing the voices of the mountains with Spirit North

“Indigenous Services Canada recognizes the important work achieved by many organizations under this initiative (New Paths for Education Program)” said William Olscamp, ISC spokesman in an email to the Western News Monday.

MP Richard Cannings (South Okanagan-West Kootenay) had said earlier he was going to bring the matter to the attention of the minister responsible, Jane Philpott, this week when the legislature resumed sitting.

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