The Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers has officially been released. You can read the full guide here.
The guide was created and compiled by Jeska Slater, Principal at Littlecrane Consulting, and recently appointed Director of Indigenous Priorities at Vancouver Foundation and designed by Nahanee Creative. It is funded by IRCC, and is a project of the Surrey Local Immigration Partnership.
More about Jeska Slater:
Jeska 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 ten years. Most recently, Jeska was the Co-Lead for Skookum Lab in Surrey BC, which is one of the first Indigenous-led social innovation labs on Turtle Island (North America). Jeska has developed an engagement practice based on reciprocity, accountability, transparency, and systems thinking. Passionate about how Indigenous leadership theory can enhance and foster healthy organizational cultures, she has a proven track record of building effective teams to advance Indigenous priorities across BC. Her education includes undergrad studies in Leadership and Project Management, and she is currently pursuing an MBA in Indigenous Business Leadership at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. Jeska is a single mother to a 6-year-old boy named Johann Waseskwan. Her work aims to model Indigenous ways of knowing, learning and being for the next generations.
More about the guide:
The Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers, funded by IRCC and developed through the Surrey Local Immigration Partnership, is a response to the call for accurate resources on First Peoples in Canada from an Indigenous perspective. 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. 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.
The Surrey First Peoples Guide uses 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.
We would like to offer a special thank you to the following contributors:
Xopocton, Chief Harley Chappell – Semiahmoo First Nation
Chief Marilyn Gabriel – Kwantlen First Nation
Michael Kelly Gabriel – Youth Cultural Ambassador – Kwantlen First Nation
Crystal Smith – Writer/Editor – Haisla and adopted into the Heiltsuk Nation
Naomi Kennedy – Writer/Editor – Stellat’ten First Nation
Liam Grigg – Writer/Editor – Consultant – Arrow Collaborative