A Place of Belonging for the Urban Indigenous Community in Surrey -- New Report Provides the Blueprint

May 15, 2021

Today the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee (SUILC) released their vision for an Indigenous Cultural Centre in Surrey. Surrey is home to the largest urban Indigenous population in the province, but does not have any cultural facilities for the community to access. The proposed cultural centre will go a long way to improving cultural connections and relationships between Indigenous residents and contribute to a better understanding of Indigenous experiences in Surrey.

 

Prepared by Urban Arts Architecture, the report proposes that the cultural centre will be the central gathering place where the Indigenous community and agencies can come together to serve the Indigenous residents of the City. Anchored by a 7,000 square foot community hall for 500 persons or more the cultural centre will also include a reception area, community kitchen, a maker space, recreation space, Elders space, and a space for social innovation enterprise. It is estimated that the total building size will be at least 17,000 square feet. It is anticipated that the cultural centre will be a place where Indigenous events, celebrations and workshops can be held. The vision document was inspired by Indigenous community members and collaboratively developed with their guidance.

 

The Indigenous population in Surrey is diverse. It includes land-based First Nations including the Semiahmoo First Nation, the Kwantlen First Nation, and the Katzie First Nation and is home to many other First Nation people who have moved to Surrey from all across BC and Canada. Surrey is also home to a very large Métis community. The vision for an Indigenous cultural centre accommodates this rich diversity.

 

According to Keenan McCarthy, co-chair of the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee the next steps include identifying funding sources, working with development partners, and identifying promising building sites. “The vision we have for this project is a beautiful central gathering space for the local Indigenous communities within Surrey. This would be an ideal space for activities aimed at making Surrey a great place for Indigenous children and youth.”

 The report can be found at: 

SUILC Indigenous Mixed Space Report (938 KB)

Any further questions can be forwarded to

Skookum.lab@gmail.com

 

 

SUILC is a coalition of organizations that have come together to advocate for the more than 13,000 Indigenous people living in Surrey. We are committed to building a city that values Indigenous contributions to community life, working towards reconciliation at all levels, and ensuring that every Indigenous person has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.