The Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee (SUILC) has been doing great work in recent years to address Indigenous child poverty in Surrey BC. Surrey has the largest urban Indigenous population in BC, yet for many years it has been ignored by decision-makers and funders. The result is a growing population with significant needs and aspirations and few Indigenous supports available. SUILC – through the work of Skookum Lab – is finally bringing these issues to the fore. As they’ve done this, it’s become clear that systemic racism is a persistent reality. It affects housing options, medical care, job opportunities, income levels, and ultimately results in a range of socio-economic challenges for families.
This isn’t a surprise for Indigenous people, yet it seems to be a shock to local politicians, bureaucrats, and even some provincial premiers who still can’t bring themselves to admit that systemic racism even exists in our country. In this context, Skookum Lab facilitated a forum with urban Indigenous leaders and community members in Surrey. Over two days, participants spoke their truth and shared their experience of living with racism. Here is a link to the final report: "Seeing Racism Through an Indigenous Social Innovation Lens - Learning and Reflections from Skookum Lab Anti-Racism Symposium 2020". While this was an emotional gathering, the final report is a beautiful witness to the strength of the community and the healing power of Indigenous wisdom, practice, and collective action.