Surrey Urban Indigenous Strategy
Check out the strategy and actions to improve the lives of urban Indigenous people in Surrey.
News & Updates
Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee Launches New Website
Check out the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee's new website.
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:
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.
Read about SUILC's progress in implementing the All Our Relations Strategy:
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:
Skookum means strong, powerful, and brave. With the support of strong leadership, powerful methodologies, and a brave community, Skookum Lab is developing new ways to address Indigenous chidl and youth poverty in Surrey.
Convened by SUILC, Skookum Lab puts Indigenous wisdom at the centre of our activities. Skookum uses a social innovation approach to tackle this complex issue in BC's largest urban Indigenous community.
Read more about our progress:
Come to National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, 2020 at Holland Park
- View the Surrey Arts and Culture Map that highlights the locations and descriptions of Indigenous artworks commissioned by the City of Surrey through its Public Art Program.
- Read a book. Start by exploring Surrey Libraries' booklists: Indigenous Reads, Indigenous Reads - Children, Indigenous Reads - Children's Picturebooks.
- Visit the Indigenous Hall at the Museum of Surrey, presented by Katzie First Nation, Kwantlen First Nation and Semiahmoo First Nation.
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.
- 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.
Protocol and Partnerships
- The SUILC is working to strengthen relationships with the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt, and Tsawwassen First Nations.
- In January 2019, SFU and SUILC signed a Collaborative Relationship agreement aimed at advancing shared objectives for reconciliation and engagement with urban Indigenous peoples, informed by the SUILC All Our Relations Strategy, SFU's Aboriginal Reconciliation Council report, the SFU Aboriginal Strategic Plan and other documents.
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. Skookum Lab is SUILC's key initiative to address this complex problem. The Skookum Lab is made possible with funding from the Vancouver Foundation, as well as the Vancity Community Foundation.
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.
- Update on the Implementation of the All Our Relations Social Innovation Strategy, July 19, 2018
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, September 6, 2017
- All Our Relations: A Social Innovation Strategy, Phase II Report, June 8, 2017
- Surrey Urban Aboriginal Social Innovation Strategy: Phase I report, May 2, 2016
- Surrey Urban Aboriginal Social Innovation Strategy September 28, 2015
- Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Homeless Count Report, September 2017
- Towards an Urban Aboriginal Housing & Wellness Strategy for Metro Vancouver, 2015 to 2020
- Shameful Neglect, Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada, May 17, 2016
- Metro Vancouver Profile of First Nations with Interests in the Region, January 2016
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Partners & Funders
The Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee has received funding from: