Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues

The Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues is a series of conversations that enables the community to participate in reconciliation on Lekwungen territory.

Guided by members of the City Family and special guests, the seven-part series of community conversations seeks to build the community’s knowledge and understanding of reconciliation -- what it is, why it is needed, and why community participation in reconciliation is important. 

The Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues provide opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to come together to share their ideas and stories, and explore how we as a community can make the culture, history and modern reality of local Indigenous Peoples become present and apparent throughout the city, and understood and valued in people’s everyday lives. The format of the conversations varies and includes storytelling, discussion and other forms of Indigenous learning.

The series began on September 30, 2019. Due to COVID-19, the series was placed on hold until the Dialogues could be held in-person once again in 2022.  

The Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues build on the City’s Witness Reconciliation Program. Working with the Songhees Nation and Esquimalt Nation, in 2017 City Council established the City Family to take a Lekwungen-led approach to reconciliation. Indigenous representatives from both the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations as well as Urban Indigenous Peoples, and representatives from City Council and staff, come together to form the City Family.

Watch the Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues Online

We invite you to watch the Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues online. 

Dialogue #1: Lekwungen Knowledge and the Land

Monday, September 30, 2019
Victoria City Hall 
Guided by: Florence Dick, Songhees Nation and Victoria City Councillor Marianne Alto
This first conversation introduces Reconciliation by drawing on the guidance of Lekwungen Elders and members about the land on which we live. Watch Dialogue #1. (The webcast starts at 08:00.) Photo courtesy of Here Magazine.

Dialogue #2: The UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the City

Monday, November 18, 2019
Victoria Conference Centre
(Photo courtesy of Here Magazine). Guided by Brianna Bear and Mayor Lisa Helps, this conversation provides an overview of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, known as UNDRIP, and engages participants in reflecting on the UNDRIP as it relates to their own work and everyday lives, as well as to the work of the City in Reconciliation with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations and urban Indigenous Peoples. Watch Dialogue #2 and read the accompanying Workbook. Learn more about UNDRIP.

Dialogue #3: Newcomers to Canada and Reconciliation

Monday, January 20, 2020
Crystal Garden, 713 Douglas Street
Guided by Carey Newman and Victoria City Councillor Sharmarke Dubow, this conversation focuses on what Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples means to newcomers to Canada, and asks participants to consider their own responsibilities around Reconciliation. Watch Dialogue #3

Dialogue #4: Sir John A. Macdonald in Conversation
Monday, March 2, 2020
Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas Street
Guided by Dr. Cindy Blackstock and Mayor Lisa Helps, this conversation opens with a performance by the Lekwungen Traditional Dancers, followed by a theatrical presentation by The Canadian Heritage Arts Society to introduce the complex life and work of Sir John A. Macdonald. Participants are asked to consider the politics of, and appropriate context for, monuments to controversial historical figures, including the City of Victoria's Sir John A. Macdonald statue. The purpose of the conversation is not to determine or debate the future home of the statue, but rather to help inform Council decision-making on next steps. Watch Dialogue #4. (Note: The event begins at 09:15.)

Dialogue #5 – Guests of Lekwungen: Urban Indigenous Experiences in Canada

Monday, May 30, 2022
Victoria Conference Centre, Carson Hall, 2nd Floor
Urban Indigenous people living in Lekwungen territory are not people of the Lekwungen lands. Yet as Indigenous people in Canada, they are often displaced from their own homelands through the process of colonization, including the sixties scoop and other colonial practices. This community conversation shares stories that highlight the experiences of Urban Indigenous people living in Lekwungen territory and the diversity of Indigenous experience. The Dialogue includes live musical performances by the Mitchell Sisters and the Answer2 drum group. Watch Dialogue #5

Dialogue #6 – Rethinking Heritage in the Context of Reconciliation

Monday, July 11, 2022
Victoria Conference Centre, Carson Hall, 2nd Floor 
Victoria has an award-winning heritage conservation program that has retained many of the early settler buildings in the city. At the same time as these buildings were built, Lekwungen heritage was systematically dismantled and erased. This Dialogue features members of the Songhees Nation and City staff who have worked together on the Government Street Refresh project and explores how to retain and celebrate the city’s colonial-built heritage at the same time as recognizing, honouring and making visible once again Lekwungen culture and land practices. Watch Dialogue #6

Resources for Reconciliation and Heritage:

Dialogue #7 – Nétsamaát: Going Forward Together

Monday, September 12, 2022
Victoria Conference Centre, Carson Hall, 2nd Floor 
Working with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, in 2017 City Council established the City Family to take a Lekwungen-led approach to reconciliation. In this Dialogue, members of the City Family and special guests present calls to actions for the City and the community to carry on the work of reconciliation for decades to come. Participants are asked to make a reconciliation commitment of their own. The six key themes are: Acknowledging the Lands and Waters; Lekwungen Language; Indigenization and Decolonization; Relationship and Leadership Agreements; Lekwungen Teachings; and City Council Practices. Watch Dialogue #7. (Note: Closed captioning will be available by September 15.) View the presentation slides [PDF - 208 KB]. Read the 32 Calls to Action [PDF - 185 KB]


In 2019, the series received $10,000 in funding from the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation’s Urban Communities Partnering for Reconciliation pilot program. Facilitated by the Union of BC Municipalities, the pilot program supports events and activities that provide a time and place for dialogue to build on opportunities, support reconciliation efforts, resolve issues of common responsibility, interest or concern, and/or to advance tangible outcomes.