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National Indigenous Peoples Day

Councillor Patton and Councillor Elford make opening remarks at last year's National Indigenous Peoples' Day event at Holland Park.

To minimize risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission, the City of Surrey invites you to celebrate this year's National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day at home.

The City of Surrey recognizes the importance of honouring the heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding ongoing achievements of Indigenous peoples in our community. Surrey is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Salish Peoples, including the q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie), q̓ʷɑ:n̓ƛ̓ən̓ (Kwantlen), and Semiahma (Semiahmoo) land-based nations.

Join us to learn more from artists through resources and videos from the City, including the longstanding and continued work of the Museum of Surrey, Surrey Libraries, Surrey Art Gallery, and Surrey Public Art.

Surrey Urban Indigenous Strategy

The Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee (SUILC) advocates for the more than 13,000 Indigenous people living in Surrey. The City of Surrey is a member of SUILC and partners to support SUILC’s vision and mission.

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Museum of Surrey

Indigenous Hall Virtual Tour

Take a virtual tour of the We Are Kwantlen exhibit via Museum of Surrey. The focus of the We Are Kwantlen exhibit is dialogue and reflection. It profiles Kwantlen members of today as they reflect on these ties, and their reflections are curated alongside important artifacts and artworks. 

Explore the Exhibit

Surrey Libraries 

Videos and Books 

Surey Libraries has more than 500 educational videos for adults and for kids featuring Canadian and Indigenous voices. Also follow Surrey Libraries on Twitter for links to Indigenous eBook lists on Overdrive (the eBook app). 

Visit Surrey Libraries

Surrey Art Gallery

Surrey Art Gallery is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Salish Peoples, including the q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie), q̓ʷɑ:n̓ƛ̓ən̓ (Kwantlen), and Semiahma (Semiahmoo) land-based nations.

The Gallery has a long history of collaborating with Indigenous artists through exhibitions, residencies, teaching and learning opportunities, and more. From Sharing Perspectives: Indigenous Contemporary Art Workshop delivered in Surrey schools to family, youth, and adult exhibitions and programming, Surrey Art Gallery connects and invites the public to engage creatively with works by local, national, and international Indigenous artists.

thumbnail of a video, woman in the woods

Last year, Surrey Art Gallery received a national award from the Canadian Museums Association for Outstanding Achievement in Education, specifically for its Indigenous contemporary art education and engagement. Read more in the BC Museums Associations provincial publication Round Up issue 277.

Watch Video

Close-up shot of Robert Davidson in smiling in front of a projection of his print work.

With Vancouver Art Gallery Curator Ian Thom, listen and learn about Robert Davidson’s art practice with an Art from the Archives interview from May 2, 2010. Read about Davidson's artworks Supernatural Eye and Eagle Calling both in our Public Art collection

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Roxanne Charles in front of her work ŚЌE,ЌÁL / Microphone.

Hear from Roxanne Charles as she discusses her artwork ŚЌE,ЌÁL / Microphone, 2017, with with Feather Arnouse, Harley Chappell, Leann Wells, Samantha Wells, and Joan Williams, in the Gallery's Permanent Collection. Check out Sharing Perspectives: Indigenous Contemporary Art Workshop Teacher's Guides containing inquiry-focused activities and discussion questions that reinforce ideas and processes related to Charles' art practice.

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Roxanne Charles in focus in front of her artwork Surrey's Urban Sprawl

Learn from Roxanne Charles as she discusses her artwork Surrey's Urban Sprawl, 2014, in the Gallery's Permanent Collection. Check out Sharing Perspectives: Indigenous Contemporary Art Workshop Teacher's Guides containing inquiry-focused activities and discussion questions that reinforce ideas and processes related to Charles' art practice.

Watch Video

A projection of Sonny Assu's artwork 1UP at UrbanScreen. Photo by Edward Westerhuis.

After watching Sonny Assu's site-specific UrbanScreen artwork 1UP, read Ellyn Walker's essay as part of Surrey Art Gallery Presents and published in Art after Dark: 10 Years of UrbanScreen.

Watch Video

Night photo of Marianne Nicolson's art The Way In Which It Was Given to Us on UrbanScreen at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre. Foreground are the backs of people's heads in shadow watching the art.

Referencing the pictograph as a way of recording stories on the land, watch video of Marianne Nicolson's The Way In Which It Was Given to Us at UrbanScreen. Siku Allooloo provides the soundtrack and accompanying Surrey Art Gallery Presents essay "Bearing Witness" published in Art after Dark: 10 Years of UrbanScreen.

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Brandon Gabriel wearing a black shirt saying fearless while standing in front of his public artwork Four Seasons at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre.

Hear from Kwelexwelsten (Brandon Gabriel) about his art practice and his beginnings as an artist. Learn more about Gabriel's other public artwork Raven and the First Sunrise.

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An interior rotunda at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre with Four Seasons hand drums.

Learn about Brandon Gabriel and Melinda Bige's public artwork Four Seasons at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre. View the Teacher's Handout, read the audio transcript, and understand the significance of the village of qəyqə́yt.

Watch Video

Indigenous-Made Monthly Matinees

In the winter, the Gallery launched a series that celebrates the rich, varied, and unique perspectives of Indigenous-made cinema. From comedies and dramas to animation and documentaries, extend your learning of some of the films screened with these resources, photos, and more from home.

Still from the film Haida Modern. Robert Davidson in focus in the middle of a crowd.

Haida Modern (2019)

In the 50 years since he carved his first totem pole and saw it raised on Haida Gwaii, Robert Davidson has continued to grow and master his practice as a carver, printmaker, painter, and jeweller, pushing the boundaries of formline design. Through interviews with art historians, celebrities, and member’s of Davidson’s family, the film reflects on the importance of Davidson’s work and the relationship between the Western world and our environment. Directed by Charles Wilkinson.

Continue learning about the pole-raising on Haida Gwaii with the documentary Now Is the Time, directed by Christopher Auchter, available to watch for free on June 21.

With Vancouver Art Gallery Curator Ian Thom, hear about Davidson’s art practice with an Art from the Archives interview from 2010.

Read about Davidson's artworks Supernatural Eye and Eagle Calling both in our Public Art collection.

Watch Online

Text of cesnaem the city before the city on top of a sunset background.

c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city (2017)

Through the voices of community members, the film directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers tells the story of Musqueam First Nation's 200-day vigil to halt a Vancouver condo development that unearthed ancestral remains. On the day of screening February 15, 2020, special guest Rhiannon Bennett discussed the film and talked about her role as one of the community’s spokespeople for c̓əsnaʔəm.

The film was made in partnership and collaboration with the Musqueam First Nation, and a curatorial team of the exhibition c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city at Museum of Anthropology, Museum of Vancouver, and the Musqueam Cultural Centre.

Extend your learning of c̓əsnaʔəm and the exhibit with the Musqueam Teaching Kit – Teacher's Resource xʷməθkʷəy̓əm: qʷi:l̕qʷəl̕ ʔə kʷθə snəw̓eyəɬ ct.

Film provided by Moving Images Distribution.

Watch Online

The Mountain of SGaana. Illustrated image of large orca jumping over a man in a canoe holding a paddle.

The Mountain of SGaana (2017)

A magical tale of a young man who is stolen away to the spirit world and the young woman who rescues him. Directed by Christopher Auchter, The Mountain of SGaana combines animation with formal elements of Haida art.

Watch Online

Rena Point Bolton weaving cedar. Still from Hands of History.

Hands of History (1994)

In this acclaimed documentary directed by Loretta Todd, a leading figure in Canadian Indigenous cinema, four contemporary female artists—Doreen Jensen, Rena Point Bolton, Jane Ash Poitras, and Joane Cardinal-Schubert—are profiled as they seek to find a continuum from traditional to contemporary forms of expression. Each artist reveals her practice and journey in her own words. Screened at the Gallery on January 18, 2020, the film is a moving testimony to the vital role women play in nurturing Indigenous cultures.

Watch Online

Surrey Public Art 

Many public artworks in Surrey have been created by artists with Indigenous cultural heritage. Learn more about these artworks and artists online.

Guardian Spirits by Trenton Pierre, white frit dots on clear glass windows of North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, symbolizing reconciliation in the form of a contemporary Salish dance mask and drum filled with hopeful symbols

Guardian Spirits

Trenton Pierre's design on the North Surrey Ice & Sport Complex windows symbolize reconciliation.

We Are All Connected to This Land by Phyllis Atkins

We Are All Connected to This Land

This imprinted design by Phyllis Atkins near Bear Creek honours the land's cultural heritage.

The Sea Captain by Marianne Nicolson with John Livingston. Photo by Brian Giebelhaus

The Sea Captain

This wooden sculpture at Surrey Central by Marianne Nicolson and John Livingston imitates a pipe.

Welcome Figures by E`yies`lek (Claude “Rocky” LaRock)

Welcome Figures

These wooden sculptures by E`yies`lek greet and protect the Katzie Elementary children.

Skedans Grizzly Bear Pole by Mungo Martin. Photo by Brian Giebelhaus.

Skedans Grizzly Bear Pole

This Haida totem pole by Mungo Martin greets travellers coming into Canada from the United States.

All Our Relations by Xwalacktun (Rick Harry). Photo by Brian Giebelhaus

All Our Relations

This Coast Salish carving by Xwalacktun was made with Guildford Park Secondary students and staff.

Preliminary design for The Rivers that Connect Us by  kʼwyʼiʼyʼe Spring Salmon Studio

The Rivers that Connect Us

These monumental paddles by kʼwyʼiʼyʼe Spring Salmon Studio welcome people to the Museum of Surrey.

Raven and the First Sunrise by Brandon Gabriel

Raven and the First Sunrise

This artwork by Brandon Gabriel on Guildford Library windows tells the First Nations origin story.

snəw̓eyəɬ: Nature’s Gods (Nature’s Teachers) by Wes Antone

snəw̓eyəɬ: Nature’s Gods (Nature’s Teachers)

Wes Antone's animals on Surrey Nature Centre's windows are accompanied by their Kwantlen meanings.

Eight Salmon Heads by Leslie Wells

Eight Salmon Heads

This artwork by Leslie Wells on the Surrey Arts Centre windows honours the salmon in Bear Creek.

Retro-Perspective by Drew Atkins

Retro-Perspective

This vinyl glazing by Drew Atkins combines Coast Salish design elements with a retro look.

Courage, Strength, and Family by Phyllis Atkins and Shain Jackson

Courage, Strength, and Family

This laser cut panel by Phyllis Atkins and Shain Jackson was inspired by cancer patients.

The Legacy of qəyqə́yt Village by Drew & Phyllis Atkins

Returning to the River

This sculpture by Drew and Phyllis Atkins marks the site of a former seasonal fishing village.

Water Guardians by Susan Point

Water Guardians

This vibrant red umbrella sculpture by Susan Point features Coast Salish style frogs in Hazelgrove Park in East Clayton.

Installation view of Fall and Winter Drums by Brandon Gabriel at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre

Four Seasons

These drums by Brandon Gabriel and Melinda Bige tell the story of the seasons according to the Kwantlen First Nation.

Paddling through the Waves of Change by Phyllis Atkins

Paddling through the Waves of Change

This Coast Salish artwork by Phyllis Atkins appears outside the 6th floor meeting room at City Hall, inspiring people to work together.

Eagle Calling by Robert Davidson

Eagle Calling

Robert Davidson combines Haida art with a contemporary aesthetic in this stylized eagle that soars in Frank Hurt Park.

Under the Double Eagle & Elder Moon by Leonard Wells and Leslie Wells

Under the Double Eagle and Elder Moon

Coast Salish symbols by Leonard Wells and Leslie Wells hang above the traffic roundabout near South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre.

Continuum: From Seed to Shelter by Eric Robertson. Photo by Brian Giebelhaus

Continuum: From Seed to Shelter

Watch for these six sculptures by Eric Robertson on top of fluted cedar poles as you enjoy a walk on the Green Timbers Greenway.

Frogs by Susan Point. Photo by Brian Giebelhaus

Frogs

Susan Point’s carved Coast Salish style frog pattern greets visitors in the lobby of the South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre.

Supernatural Eye by Robert Davidson

Supernatural Eye

This monumental sculpture by Robert Davidson stands at the entrance to Harvard Gardens.

Surrey Columbian Centennial Totem Pole by John Edward Neel. Photo by Brian Giebelhaus

Surrey Columbian Centennial Totem Pole

Kwakwaka’wakw carver Ted Neel made this totem pole for Canada's centennial, honouring First Nations.

Talking Poles by Lorna Boschman, Victoria Moulder & T'Uy'Tanat-Cease Wyss

Talking Poles

This community dialogue project along Serpentine Greenway brought together residents, students, instructors, spiritual leaders, and artists.

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