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New partnership at SFU supports urban Indigenous peoples in Surrey

Argreement builds on university’s commitment to urban First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples: SFU
SFU vice-president and chancellor Andrew Petter, left, with Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee co-chair Keenan McCarthy following the signing of the agreement. (Photo: SFU)

A new agreement between Simon Fraser University and Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee is aimed at advocating on behalf of Surrey’s urban Indigenous peoples.

SFU and the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee (SUILC) have partnered “to promote and support” the academic, research and community engagement needs and interests of the region’s growing urban Indigenous peoples.

The agreement was signed by SUILC co-chair Keenan McCarthy, president of the Nova Métis Heritage Association, and SFU president and vice-chancellor Andrew Petter at the SFU Surrey campus on Jan. 10.

The agreement, according to a news release from SFU, “sets the stage for further work to support and increase Indigenous students participation in SFU courses and programs, to promote academic and research initiatives that engage and benefit the urban Indigenous community, and to develop opportunities for the university to engage with urban Indigenous peoples in Surrey.”

McCarthy, who is also a student at SFU, said the agreement is “a testament to our collective desire to make Surrey a better place for our Indigenous community.”

Petter said that by working together, the university and SUILC can make “an important contribution to advancing the process of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Surrey.”

Over the past year, the release says that SFU Surrey campus administrators have connected with members of SUILC to determine how the university can contribute to its work in Surrey, which is “home to the highest proportion of urban Indigenous youth in B.C.”

RELATED: Report finds Surrey’s Aborignal population is growing, young and undeserved, Feb. 27, 2018

According to the release, SUILC was formed in 2015 “to be the collective voice of Surrey’s nearly 14,000 Indigenous people.”

The collaboration agreement “reflects” SFU’s commitment to respect Aboriginal peoples and culture, the release reads. It also “responds” to the work of the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council, which had a report that called on the university to support Indigenous youth, “while respecting Indigenous knowledge and strengthening ties with Indigenous peoples and communities.

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Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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