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Surrey Urban Indigenous Strategy

Cllr LeFranc with Kwantlen FN Chief Marilyn Gabriel and Gabriel family

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 the largest urban Aboriginal population in Metro Vancouver, 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:

The Strategy addresses the findings contained in the All Our Relations Phase 1 Report 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 Aboriginal population in Surrey.

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 include:  

Education and Awareness Building

  • Orange Shirt Day: Mayor Linda Hepner proclaimed September 30th as Orange Shirt Day in the City of Surrey. In 2016 and 2017, the City held a variety of events to honour Orange Shirt Day.
  • Louis Riel Day: Mayor Linda Hepner 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 betwen 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 2017, the SUILC recognied two amazing women: June Laitar and Beverley Dagg. Two new Leadership Awards will be awarded in 2018.
  • Leadership course: the SUILC is exploring opportunities to create a community-based leadership course 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

  • 45% of Indigenous children 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. The SUILC has recieved 3 years of funding from the Vancouver Foundation for a Social Innovation Lab process with the ultimate goal of creating a city where all Indigenous children and families thrive. Stay tuned for more information.

Protocol and Partnerships

  • The SUILC is working to strengthen relationships with the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt, and Tsawwassen First Nations.

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

News Releases

Partners & Funders

The Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee has recieved funding from:


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