The Dialogues Project


The Dialogues Project from Kamala Todd on Vimeo.

"Dialogues between First Nations, Urban Aboriginal, and Immigrant Communities in Vancouver" (the Dialogues Project) is a City project in collaboration with diverse community partners.

The goal of the project is to build increased understanding and strengthened relations between Indigenous and immigrant/non-Indigenous communities.

The first phase of the project includes five main initiatives:

  • Dialogue circles
  • Community research
  • Cultural exchange visits
  • Youth  and elders program
  • Legacy projects

Key funding is provided by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, through the BC Welcoming and Inclusive Communities and Workplaces Program .

hi:yay̓əs - A Dialogues Summit on Strengthening Relations

Read about this project in depth

August to November 2011

The Dialogues Project undertook a story gathering project in the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood, called "Our Roots." The project used cultural dialogues and story sharing to help build understanding between Indigenous and immigrant communities.

Thursday 21 July 2011

A photovoice exhibit opened at W2 Media Café. This exhibit was a culmination of a number of youth engagement activities. A group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous/immigrant elders and seniors met to dialogue around intercultural and intergenerational relations. Forty Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth also had sessions among themselves to dialogue around the same issues. The youth and Elders formed small groups and took photos around themes of their choice, relating to the themes of the Dialogues Project.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

The Dialogues Project held a celebration event, bringing together over 250 guests, including City Council, government and First Nations representatives, project participants, and community partners.

The event included multimedia installations showcasing the project’s initiatives and activities including:

  • The launch of the book, "Vancouver Dialogues: First Nations, Urban Aboriginal and Immigrant Communities"
  • A screening of Sharing Our Stories (the project’s documentary video)
  • A feature performance, titled Arrival Over Distance
  • A collaboration of performing artists from Indigenous and immigrant communities.

Sunday 26 September 2010 – Saturday 28 May 2011

Twelve cultural exchange visits were organized. The visits took place at sites of community and cultural significance for Indigenous and immigrant communities. They provided opportunities for participants to learn more about the histories and cultures of the community groups hosting the events.

Thursday 15 July 2010

A series of dialogue circles held between April and July 2010 wrapped up with a closing session at the Vancouver Public Library.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

The Dialogues Project was officially launched at the UBC First Nations Longhouse.

Details of the Dialogues Project

Phase 1 of the Vancouver Dialogues Project included the following five main initiatives:

1. Dialogue circles

The circles brought together members of the Indigenous and immigrant/non-Indigenous communities to share stories and perspectives with each other. Circles were facilitated, and focused on three broad topics: remembering the past, reflecting on current issues, and envisioning strategies for building future relationships.

2. Community research

The project conducted a community survey and interviews to find out people’s experiences and perspectives on community relations. The project also conducted a literature scan to find out what information is easily accessible to newcomers about Indigenous communities.

3. Cultural exchange visits

Twelve cultural exchange visits were held to give communities opportunities to engage with each other face-to-face through on-site visits and learn more about each other’s history, culture and perspectives. Visits were hosted by Indigenous, immigrant and youth communities.

4. Youth and elders program

Youth and elders held separate dialogue sessions to discuss issues around intercultural and intergenerational relations. They also received photography training to help them complete photovoice projects, on which they collaborated in small groups.

5. Legacy project

A story gathering project is being undertaken in the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood, called Our Roots. Youth Story Gatherers will conduct interviews of residents to help give voice to diverse Indigenous and immigrant experiences of the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood.

Why the Dialogues Project was created

Vancouver is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.

First Nations people have been living here for thousands of years. The City is within the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people, including the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh, who still live here today. They are thriving communities with unique, living cultures rich in heritage. Many Indigenous people from other communities have also come here and now call Vancouver home, adding their experiences to the cultural tapestry.

Vancouver's growing immigrant population

Though it has a rich indigenous heritage, Vancouver is also increasingly a city of immigrants. According to 2006 census data, close to half of Vancouver’s population was born outside of Canada. The same census shows that two of the fastest growing demographic groups in Vancouver are immigrants and Indigenous peoples. 

Over the years, First Nations, urban Indigenous groups, and immigrant organizations have acknowledged that there is limited inter-cultural interaction between Indigenous and immigrant Canadians.

Within Indigenous communities, there is a sense that their history, culture, and heritage are not well understood by others living within their traditional territory. For newcomers, it seems there are few opportunities to learn about the Indigenous community living in their midst. Some studies have shown that newcomers are generally under-informed (if not misinformed) about Indigenous history, perspectives, and issues.

Briding the gap between Vancouver's Indigenous and immigrant communities

One key goal of the Dialogues Project is to help bridge the information and communication gaps between these communities.  

"Dialogues between First Nations, Urban Aboriginal and Immigrant Communities in Vancouver" is a project convened by the City of Vancouver, in collaboration with community partners (The Dialogues Project). Its goal is to promote increased understanding and stronger relationships between Indigenous and immigrant communities within the City, and create a welcoming and inclusive city for all.

Engaging Indigenous youth

dialogues youthFind out how Vancouver's Indigenous youth are engaging with the City's Dialogues Project.

Visit Vancouver Dialogues 

Get a free copy of the Dialogues Project book

dialogues-coverVancouver Dialogues: First Nations, Urban Aboriginal and Immigrant Communities records the Dialogues Project’s journey, which includes dialogue circles, cultural exchange visits, community research, and youth and elders programs.

Download the book  (5 MB)