A new Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers has been created in response to a call for accurate resources on First Peoples in Canada from an Indigenous perspective.
The 32-page guide was launched Tuesday (June 15) in a Zoom conference hosted by Surrey Local Immigration Partnership (Surrey LIP), the project lead.
“This resource provides information on the traditional protocols, histories, and current realities of Indigenous, Metis, and Inuit people in Canada, and addresses common misconceptions about the First People of this land,” says a news release posted to Surrey LIP’s website.
“This guide seeks to uplift and amplify the voices of the land-based Nations that Surrey occupies, and uncovers hard truths, constructs a foundation for shared understanding, and continues the important work of building solidarity between the Indigenous and newcomer communities in Surrey.”
Designed by Nahanee Creative with funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the guide was created and compiled by Jeska Slater, principal at Littlecrane Consulting and the recently appointed Director of Indigenous Priorities at Vancouver Foundation.
The guide, posted as a PDF to surreylip.ca, aims to use “a community-centred method that uplifts the stories of the land-based Nations, urban populations, and Indigenous champions.
“Anti-Indigenous racism is a common experience for Indigenous people living in Surrey. Racism and stereotypes negatively affect Indigenous people in many areas of life, including health, justice, education, and social services. When these racial stereotypes are normalized, Indigenous people face greater barriers in their communities. Actively dismantling these stereotypes and normalized biases will work to ensure that Indigenous, Metis, and Inuit people in Surrey live free from colonial harm.”
"It is worth mentioning that as Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (North America), we have been left out of the history books, guidebooks, and education programs for well over 100 years..." @lenpierre1 in the Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers #truthandreconciliation https://t.co/KxUqPmU3t2— Mariam Bilgrami (She/Her/Hers) (@mariambil) June 16, 2021
"There has been a long and treacherous history of erasing us from society. The importance of documents like The First Peoples Guide for Newcomers, written by Indigenous people and within an Indigenous perspective is a celebration... https://t.co/w8Vjg3aEmO— PeaceGeeks (@PeaceGeeks) June 16, 2021
Surrey LIP is described as “a community partnership bringing diverse voices together to build an equitable and inclusive city where all immigrants, refugees and citizens thrive.”
Slater is a Nehiyaw iskwew (Cree woman) from Fisher River Cree Nation, part of Treaty 5 in Manitoba. She has been working in and for both urban and land-based Indigenous communities for over a decade. Most recently, Slater was co-lead for Skookum Lab in Surrey.