Skip navigation

Surrey Urban Indigenous Strategy

SFU President Andrew Petter and SUILC Co-Chair Keenan McCarthy at the signing of the SFU-SUILC Collaborative Relationship Agreement

The City of Surrey acknowledges the traditional territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) exposed the terrible legacy of the Indian Residential School System and the on-going trauma for survivors. With Surrey having one of the largest urban Indigenous populations in BC, the City is taking a proactive response to the call to action by the TRC.

All Our Relations Social Innovation Strategy

In 2015, the City convened the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee to guide the development of a Social Innovation Strategy. The Strategy was released in 2017:

Download the Strategy

The Strategy addresses the findings contained in the All Our Relations Phase 1 Report. The objective of the Strategy is to build and strengthen relationships at all levels of the community and to improve the economic participation, educational attainment and health outcomes for the Indigenous population in Surrey.

Profile of the Indigenous Population in Surrey

Did you know that Surrey is now home to the largest urban Indigenous population in BC?

Over 13,000 Indigenous people call Surrey home. Find out more in this report commissioned by the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee and released May 2019:

Download the Profile

Get Involved

All Our Relations Strategy Implementation

The Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee (SUILC) is working hard to implement the Strategy, in collaboration with other organizations and individuals in Surrey. Focussed on five priority themes, current and recent activities are described below. Funding for SUILC to work towards Strategy implementation is provided by the Department of Indigenous Services Canada.

Education and Awareness Building

  • Orange Shirt Day: Since 2016, the City of Surrey and SUILC have partnered to hold events to honour Orange Shirt Day in the City of Surrey.
  • Louis Riel Day: Mayor Doug McCallum proclaimed November 16 as Louis Riel Day in the City of Surrey.This day celebrates the life and achievements of Louis Riel, a great Canadian politician and persistent advocate for the rights of the Métis people.
  • National Indigenous People's Day Celebration is held annually on June 21.
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP): In September 2017, Surrey City Council unanimously endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for the City to use in its on-going process of reconciliation with local First Nations and urban Indigenous peoples in Surrey. Surrey is the fourth city in Canada to endorse UNDRIP. Watch the Council endorsement and read the Corporate Report.
  • Building Solidarity Between Indigenous and Refugee Communities in Surrey: a series of dialogues in 2018 brought together Indigenous and refugee youth for intercultural exchange, celebration and community building. These dialogues were a collaboration between youth from the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association and the Surrey Local Immigration Partnership.
  • The Celebrating Métis Art event provided an opportunity for Métis youth and anyone interested to learn about Métis culture by drawing traditional flower patterns with Métis artist Lisa Shepherd. Organized by Métis BC Nation, Nova Métis and the City of Surrey.

Expanding Urban Indigenous Leadership Capacity

  • Recognizing Indigenous Leadership: Each year the SUILC recognizes two individuals for their long-standing and exceptional dedication to the urban Indigenous community in Surrey. In 2018, the SUILC recognized Tom Oleman, Executive Director of Cwenengitel, and the Surrey Indigenous Youth Advisory Council at FRAFCA for their leadership.
  • Leadership opportunities: the SUILC is exploring opportunities to create a community-based leadership opportunities for Indigenous people. This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between Community Foundations of Canada, the McConnell Foundation, and the Government of Canada.

Urban Indigenous Child Poverty Task Force

  • 38% of Indigenous children and youth in Surrey live in poverty. Multiple systems interact in complex ways to create Indigenous child poverty. Band-aid solutions will never get at the deep systemic change required.
  • In response, the SUILC has launched the Skookum Lab. The Lab focuses on how together, we can make Surrey a great place for Indigenous children and youth. In this phase of the Skookum Lab, engagement activities are centring Indigenous wisdom, to discover how we can address the root causes of Indigenous child and youth poverty in Surrey. The Skookum Lab is made possible with funding from the Vancouver Foundation, as well as the Vancity Community Foundation.

Protocol and Partnerships

Indigenous Spaces in the City

  • The All Our Relations report identified that there is no clear centre or gathering place for the Indigenous community in Surrey. The SUILC is exploring opportunities to create a multi-use centre, with access to services and cultural gathering space in Surrey.

Council Reports

Additional Resources

Partners & Funders

The Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee has received funding from:


Related Content

Social Planning

Learn about social planning priorities and actions to support a socially sustainable Surrey.

Social Equity and Diversity Committee

This committee provides advice on social sustainability in Surrey.