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BMO Marks National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day with Support for Indigenous-Led Organizations that Empower Communities
  • Ka Ni Kanichihk, Teach For Canada–Gakinaamaage, and the Woodland Cultural Centre to receive donations totalling $800,000
  • BMO and First Nations University Indigenous eLearning course, Nisitohtamowin, available free for the second straight year

TORONTO, June 15, 2023 /CNW/ - BMO today announced contributions to Indigenous cultural and educational initiatives at three organizations.

"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."

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, 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."

For more than three decades, BMO has been working with Indigenous communities to support their economic self-determination. Since 1992, through a network of branches and business banking offices both on and off reserve, BMO has offered financial products and services, including housing and renovation financing, trust services, investment management solutions, and long-term financing for on-reserve infrastructure and economic development. Through BMO's Indigenous Employee Resource Group (The Sharing Circle), Nisitohtamowin – Understanding Indigenous Perspectives, an e-learning course created in partnership with First Nations University of Canada, and made available to all for free, and with the guidance of the BMO Indigenous Advisory Council, BMO encourages understanding, self-identification, and celebration of Indigenous Peoples and cultures. The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business has recognized BMO with six consecutive Gold Level certifications for the bank's approach to the Indigenous market and for understanding the business case for a diverse workforce and equitable supportive workplace.

For more information about how BMO works with Indigenous communities in Canada, click here to view BMO's annual Indigenous Partnerships and Progress Report.

About BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.25 trillion as of April 30, 2023. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to over 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society.

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: For News Media Enquiries: Kelly Hechler, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996