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Dialogues Between First Nations,
Urban Aboriginal and Immigrant Communities in Vancouver
April 13, 2010
A Message from the Mayor
It is with pleasure that I welcome you to the launch of “Dialogues between First Nations,
Urban Aboriginal and Immigrant Communities in Vancouver”
The City of Vancouver is home to a tremendously diverse population and includes the
traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
In addition to the First Nations, people from other Aboriginal communities and migrants
from around the world have come to call Vancouver home. The Dialogues Project is the
first of its kind initiated by the City to bring together both the Aboriginal and immigrant
communities in an effort to build stronger community bonds.
The Mayor’s Working Group on Immigration recognizes the importance of honouring
and valuing the role of First Nations people as the initial occupants of Canada. It is in
this context that we aim to work with the diverse communities in Vancouver to create an
inclusive city for all.
Gregor Robertson, Mayor,
City of Vancouver
Message from the Dialogues Project Chairs
As Chairs of the Dialogues Project Steering Group, we are so pleased to witness the launch of the project. The City of Vancouver had been discussing the project with community partners for quite some time before it came to fruition, so we are happy to see it now being introduced to the public. From the beginning, the Dialogues Project has been strongly supported by stakeholder community members, who see the importance of building stronger inter-cultural relations between Aboriginal and immigrant communities in Vancouver.
Over the next sixteen months there will be a number of initiatives aimed at bringing the communities together, including the dialogue circles, which will be starting shortly. Over one hundred participants from the First Nations, urban Aboriginal and immigrant communities will be engaged to share their stories and perspectives and come up with plans for future collaborative relationships.
On behalf of the Project Steering Group, we’d like to thank you for celebrating the launch of the Dialogues Project with us!
1Dialogues Between Aboriginal and Immigrant Communities
Henry Yu, History Professor,
University of British Columbia
Wade Grant, Musqueam Councillor
Susan Tatoosh Executive Director,
Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre
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Program — April 13, 2010
5:30 Introduction and welcome Masters of Ceremonies: Zool Suleman and Kamala Todd
Greetings Welcome from Coast Salish Elder Linc Kesler, Director, UBC First Nations House of Learning Deputy Mayor David Cadman, City of Vancouver Greetings from Musqueam First Nation Greetings from Squamish First Nation Greetings from Tsleil-Waututh First Nation
6:00 Cedar & Bamboo – a special preview Introduced by: Diana Leung, Film Co-Director & Chinese Canadian
Historical Society (CCHS) Board member; Henry Yu, Dialogues Project Chair & CCHS Board member
Voices 4 Ex/Change (Produced by urban ink Production Society) Diane Roberts, Voices 4 Ex/Change Animator; urban ink Artistic Director Pepe Danza, composer/musician; Omari Newton, storyteller; Rupinder
Sidhu, storyteller; Valerie Sing Turner*, storyteller; Quelemia Sparrow, storyteller
*Participating with the special permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.
6:30 Warrior Song (based on traditional Lil’wat music) Russell Wallace, Vocalist/Musician
6:35 Introduce Youth Community Developers and Dialogue Circles Susan Tatoosh, Dialogues Project Chair Eric Wong, Lead Facilitator, Dialogue Circles
6:45 Closing Remarks Wade Grant, Dialogues Project Chair
Networking reception Salishan Catering
3Dialogues Between Aboriginal and Immigrant Communities
About the Dialogues Project
The Dialogues between First Nations, Urban Aboriginal and Immigrant Communities in Vancouver Project (the Dialogues Project) is a ground-breaking collaboration between the City of Vancouver and more than 20 community partners that aims to build understanding and stronger relationships between local Aboriginal and immigrant communities.
The Dialogues Project consists of five initiatives designed to encourage members of these communities to share their experiences and perceptions and to learn about one- another’s cultures. It commenced in early 2010, and is scheduled to run until mid-2011.
The project has been funded by the Government of Canada and the Government of BC through the Welcome and Inclusive Communities and Workplaces Program. The City’s Social Policy Group provides project oversight and co-ordination.
Through the Dialogues Project, individuals and communities will be able to learn about one another, make new connections, and explore new opportunities to work together. The result will be a City with a richer, stronger cultural tapestry.
The project concentrates around five initiatives:
Dialogue Circles: To foster conversations between Aboriginal and immigrant groups, a series of facilitated discussions will be held. They will focus on remembering history, reflecting on present community assets, and establishing plans for future cross- cultural alliances.
Community Action Research: Interviews and group surveys will be conducted with Aboriginal and immigrant community members about their experiences and perceptions on social inclusion and inter-cultural relations in Vancouver.
Cultural Exchange Visits: First Nations, urban Aboriginal and immigrant groups will host cultural exchanges to give the broader community a chance to learn about and engage with the histories and cultures of the groups hosting the exchanges.
Youth and Elders Program: Youth and elders will be engaged to act as liaisons between communities and as presenters to promote the project and related issues to other interested groups.
Legacy Projects: Funding will be sought to implement two legacy projects which will generate more public awareness and support for the issues raised under the Dialogues initiatives.
The Dialogues Project will be chronicled in a DVD and a Story document, which will include the stories of the communities and will also highlight the key events and achievements of the Project.
Masters of Ceremonies
Zool Suleman is an immigration lawyer, writer and consultant. Former Chair of the Vancouver Mayor’s Task Force on Immigration, he is a refugee from Uganda with grandparents from Gujarat, India.
Kamala Todd is a filmmaker and community planner who works to raise awareness about the histories and contributions of Aboriginal people in Vancouver.
Cedar & Bamboo The preview film, Cedar & Bamboo, was produced by the Chinese Canadian Historical Society (CCHS). CCHS is a non-profit, participatory provincial organization dedicated to broadening our shared understanding of history of the Chinese in British Columbia through research, documentation, preservation and education.
Cedar & Bamboo explores the rich and complex relationships between Aboriginal and Chinese people in British Columbia through the lives of four people who are descended from both cultures. For more information: www.chinese-firstnations-relations.ca/production.html
Cedar & Bamboo Co-Directors
Diana Leung – Cedar & Bamboo Co-Director Diana is passionate about storytelling, heritage conservation, urban memory and communities. She has been involved in collaborative video productions with various communities as well as creative projects with dance, puppetry, and sound. Diana has a Masters degree in Community and Regional Planning (UBC). She currently works for the City of Vancouver in the Cultural Services Department.
Kamala Todd – Cedar & Bamboo Co-Director Kamala is a Métis-Cree/German writer, filmmaker, community planner, educator and Mother. She has a Masters Degree in Urban Geography (UBC) and is creator/director of the Aboriginal multimedia arts project Storyscapes and Indigenous City, a dynamic project seeking to affirm the important place of Aboriginal people in the city. Her film, Indigenous Plant Diva, has recently screened at festivals in Europe and North America.
4 Dialogues Between Aboriginal and Immigrant Communities
urban ink Production Society
urban ink Production Society is a Vancouver-based theatre company known to plant creative roots in far-flung communities across BC. We produce Aboriginal and diverse cultural works and promote multi-disciplinary artists to proudly showcase their talent on stages across Canada. Our quest for authentic expression of historical and current phenomenon while bridging social and ethnic divides is at the heart of our professional and community based activities.
urban ink’s community work is uniquely suited to youth, youth-elder dialogue, community remembering, inter-racial dialogue and a deep exploration of ancestral origins. urban ink is proud to be host organization for the Story Box Project a part of Vancouver’s Great Beginnings, which commemorates the City’s founding communities. Please learn more about us at: www.urbanink.ca
Voices 4 Ex/Change In Voices 4 Ex/Change we enter the circle-----an interplay of music, storytelling and