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.