Grant Guidelines

These grants support First Nations and Indigenous communities to bring their ancestors and culture back home. 

Applications for the 2020 Repatriation Grants have closed and all available funding has been allocated. We thank everyone who applied and we are honoured to support the work of repatriation in British Columbia. If you are looking for other sources of funding for repatriation activities, there are currently two federal funding programs that can support repatriation, we recommend you consider reviewing the following:

Quick Links
About the 2020 Repatriation Grants

The 2020 Repatriation Grants are for BC First Nations and Indigenous organizations and support the repatriation of ancestors, cultural property, and intangible cultural heritage.

The BCMA respectfully acknowledges the decades of work and advocacy Indigenous leaders and communities have undertaken to support the return of their ancestors and cultural patrimony. We thank the BC Government for their support of the 2020 Repatriation Grant and extend appreciation to the Royal BC Museum and the BCMA Indigenous Advisory Committee for their expertise, time, ideas, partnership, and guidance.

Applications for the 2020 Repatriation Grants are now closed, we thank everyone who inquired and applied. The intake for applications opened on September 8th, 2020, and closed on January 15th, 2021.

For questions regarding the 2020 Repatriation Grant, or for general assistance with your application, please contact us at or phone 250.356.5700.


Applications for the 2020 Repatriation Grant are open to BC First Nations and Indigenous organizations. BCMA respects that every community has unique cultural practices and repatriation requirements. If you feel these guidelines do not reflect your cultural needs, please contact us to discuss how improvements may be made.

Eligible organizations must:

  • Be a Tribal Council or a First Nations Band Council; or an Indigenous cultural centre/friendship centre, community repatriation committee, or individual with the written support of a Tribal Council or First Nations Band Council
  • Demonstrate how funding from the 2020 Repatriation Grant will contribute to the completion of your repatriation research or project
  • Present a proposal that is achievable within the time and funding available, and within the scope of the 2020 Repatriation Grant

Other considerations:

  • Applicants may apply for both Research Grants and Project Grants in 2020
  • Non-Indigenous not-for-profit organizations may apply for 2020 Repatriation Grants, but must partner with an Indigenous community/organization as the lead applicant and have written support from a Tribal Council or a First Nations Band Council

For public safety, many communities currently do not permit travel due to COVID-19. Travel restrictions may make your repatriation research and activities more challenging or impossible for the foreseeable future. If you wish to postpone travel until 2021, we will strive to accommodate this, please note this request in your application. It is difficult to predict how COVID-19 may impact repatriation activities and timelines and we will work with communities to ensure that projects can be completed safely. 

Available Funding

A total of $450,000.00 is available for the 2020 Repatriation Grants.

Successful applicants will receive 80% of requested funds upon approval and 20% upon completion and acceptance of a final report.

We encourage applicants to combine BCMA funding with other funding sources if possible. If you are interested in exploring other funding sources, please contact us and we can connect you with funding resources.

All communities and cultural organizations that receive 2020 Repatriation Grants will also receive a complimentary one-year membership to the BC Museums Association; this membership provides access to special programs and support services, as well as connects you to a network of heritage professionals across the province. All communities and cultural organizations who apply will also be sent an electronic version of the Royal BC Museum’s Repatriation Handbook.

Research Grants

Grants of up to $15,000.00 are available (Research Grants are very flexible, there is no minimum amount, so please apply even if you only need a small amount of money) for earlier stage repatriation activities, these may include:

  • Conducting research to document cultural items, ancestral remains, and/or burial items held in museums and/or private collections
  • Travel by community members to assess what is being held in museum collections
  • Travel and expenses for meetings between community members and museum representatives
Project Grants

Grants of up to $35,000.00 are available for repatriation activities that have moved beyond the research stage, this may include:

  • Construction of containers to transport repatriated cultural items
  • Materials necessary to facilitate the return of cultural items
  • Transportation of ancestral remains and/or cultural items
  • Ceremony
  • Staff time required for administration and/or coordination of repatriated items
  • Travel and expenses for meetings between community members and museum representatives
Ineligible Expenses

The goal of the 2020 Repatriation Grant is to support Indigenous organizations and communities in undertaking the return of their ancestors and cultural patrimony, therefore expenses that do not align with this objective will be considered ineligible for funding.

Capital equipment costs (i.e. purchases of equipment like laptops, cameras, vehicles, etc.) are generally not considered eligible expenses. If your proposal requires capital equipment, please contact us to discuss your specific needs.

The purchase of tangible and intangible heritage is not permitted through the 2020 Repatriation Grant.

Review Process

All applications will be reviewed by a special Repatriation Grant sub-committee of the BCMA’s Indigenous Advisory Committee. To learn more about the BCMA IAC, please visit our Indigenous Culture & Heritage web portal. The review committee will jury anonymized applications to avoid conflicts of interest. 

Funds for the 2020 Repatriation Grant are limited, the Repatriation Grant sub-committee will give priority to projects that are deemed to be most achievable within the funding and timelines permitted through this opportunity. The BCMA reserves the right to contact applicants for additional information if the Repatriation Grant sub-committee requests.

If your application is successful, you will be required to complete a brief final report within one month of the completion of your project. This report will be shared with the BC Government.

About the BC Museums Association

The BCMA is honoured to support the repatriation of Indigenous ancestors, culture patrimony, and heritage. Founded in 1957, the British Columbia Museums Association (BCMA) creates a bright future for British Columbia’s museum, gallery, and related heritage communities through networking, advocacy, innovation, and professional development. It delivers programs and services to the benefit of its members and the sector at large, acting as the cultural and heritage information hub for British Columbia while providing a unified voice for the institutions, trustees, professional staff, and volunteers.

We encourage communities to share updates about their repatriation work which can be featured on the Repatriation page of the BCMA’s Indigenous Culture & Heritage web portal.


Communities and organizations that received funding through the 2020 Repatriation Grants are required to submit their final report to the BCMA thirty days after project completion, or no later than March 31, 2022. 

Questions? Contact the BCMA

If you have questions about your organization’s eligibility or require assistance with the online application form, please contact or call 250.356.5700.

The BCMA is open Monday to Friday from 9 – 4 pm and will attempt to respond to your emails and calls as quickly as possible.