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New ‘Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers’ seeks to ‘uplift and amplify’ voices

32-page guide launched Tuesday by Surrey Local Immigration Partnership (LIP)
Cover of the 32-page Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers, created and compiled by Jeska Slater.

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.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2020: Acts of racism ‘part of the lived experience of urban Indigenous peoples in Surrey’: report.

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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.

PICTURED: Jeska Slater was part of the organizing group that saw hundreds turn out at Surrey Civic Plaza on June 4 to honour the 215 Indigenous children recently discovered at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

The guide, posted as a PDF to, 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.”

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.

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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