SURREY – The Surrey Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) has received a 2022 British Columbia Reconciliation Award by the BC Achievement Foundation.
The British Columbia Reconciliation Award recognizes individuals, groups and organizations who demonstrate exceptional leadership, integrity, respect and commitment to furthering the Calls to Action outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s report; and/or inspired others to do so.
In advance of award announcement, Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of BC, telephoned Surrey LIP co-chairs Neelam Sahota and Brenda Locke, and Mariam Bilgrami, of the Surrey LIP Management Team, who led the project, to inform them about winning the award, on the recommendation of the selection committee made up of Indigenous Elders and BC First Nations leadership.
When the Surrey LIP, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, came under the management of DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society in 2020, work toward building solidarity between Indigenous and newcomer communities in Surrey became a core commitment for the 30+ member council.
To help build inclusive and equitable communities, the Surrey LIP’s goal was to facilitate newcomers’ learning and understanding of local First Nations, including the hard truths about the historic and current realities First Nations experience. Extensive research and community dialogue resulted in the publication of the Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers, created from an Indigenous perspective for newcomers.
“The Surrey LIP’s work helps construct a foundation for shared understanding, and furthers the important work of building solidarity between the Indigenous and newcomer communities in Surrey based on truth, anti-oppression and decolonization,” says co-chair Neelam Sahota, also the Chief Executive Officer of DIVERSEcity.
The first of its kind in Surrey, the 46-page guide, led by Jeska Slater and her team at Littlecrane Consulting with design by Nahanee Creative, and published in English in June 2021, provides information on histories and current challenges of Indigenous, Métis and Inuit people in Canada, and addresses common misconceptions and stereotypes about the First Peoples.
That same year, the guide was then translated into Punjabi, Tagalog and Mandarin.
“Continuing this important work, we are now so pleased to announce the release of the Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers in three more languages: Hindi, Korean and French,” says co-chair Brenda Locke, a Surrey City Councillor. All guides are available for download free of charge at surreylip.ca.
More work is underway, with plans for audio-visual initiatives, and specialized curriculum design and training, and more.
The learnings of the Surrey LIP’s work in bridging Indigenous and newcomer communities are also now expanding regionally. A new collaboration and knowledge sharing initiative aims to co-create an equity-centered design framework that will build the capacity of LIPs throughout BC and Yukon to design supports that bridge Indigenous peoples and newcomers in each of their unique communities, such as their own version of the guide. More information on this initiative will be announced soon.
If you are interested in Surrey LIP, the release of further translated versions of the guide, and the new expansion initiative in BC-Yukon as well as, email at [email protected] or visit surreylip.ca.
Other 2022 BC Reconciliation Award winners
- Atomic Cartoons in partnership with GBH
- Kwuntiltunaat – Kim Baird
- T̓łaḵwagila – Chief Bill Cranmer
- Brendan Eshom
- Tk’emlúpsteSecwépemc and the City of Kamloops