Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues

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

Pre-register to join us IN-PERSON for three NEW Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues in 2022! The events are free and all are welcome.

Guided by members of the City Family and special guests, the conversations seek 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.

Due to COVID-19, the series was placed on hold until the Dialogues could be held in-person once again. 

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, Mayor Lisa Helps, and representatives from City Council and staff, come together to form the City Family.

Pre-register for the 2022 Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues 

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

Monday, May 30 from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m.)
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 Dialogue will share stories that highlight the experiences of Urban Indigenous people living in Lekwungen territory and the diversity of Indigenous experience. There will also be live musical performances. Pre-register now.

Dialogue #6 – Rethinking Heritage in the Context of Reconciliation

Monday, July 11 from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m.)
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 will feature members of the Songhees Nation, Esquimalt Nation and City staff who have worked together on the Government Street Refresh project and will explore 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. Pre-register now

Dialogue #7 – Na’tsa’maht: Going Forward Together

Monday, September 12 from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m.) 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, the City Family will present a Reconciliation Plan to the City and the community to carry on the work of reconciliation for decades to come. Participants will be asked to make a reconciliation commitment of their own. The session will feature Songhees Nation and Esquimalt Nation youth. Pre-Register now

About the Conversations

The Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues series is free to attend IN-PERSON and all are welcome. You can choose to attend some or all three of the Dialogues. Please commit to participating in the full conversation(s) you pre-register for. 

Each Dialogue is approximately 2.5 hours in length, taking place on a Monday evening from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Victoria Conference Centre at Carson Hall on the second floor. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for check-in at the Registration Desk. 

Free childminding is available (up to two hours per conversation).

Complimentary refreshments are provided.

The format of the conversations will vary and may include storytelling, discussion and other forms of Indigenous learning. As the sharing of personal stories can trigger strong emotions, a counsellor will be on hand at each conversation. 

NOTE: The Dialogues are webcast live and recorded for a documentary program. Signs will be posted in the room.

Previous Dialogues (2019-2020)

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
Thank you to all those who could join us. This first conversation introduced Reconciliation by drawing on the guidance of Lekwungen Elders and members about the land on which we live. Watch the Dialogue #1 archived webcast. (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
Thank you to everyone who was able to join us in person and online for this conversation. Thanks also to The Lekwungen Dancers who opened the event. (Photo courtesy of Here Magazine).  Guided by Brianna Bear and Mayor Lisa Helps, this conversation provided an overview of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, known as UNDRIP, and engaged 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.The event included e an Indigenous Art Display, with artworks available for purchase (cash only). Watch the Dialogue #2 archived webcast and read the accompanying Workbook. Learn more about UNDRIP. (The webcast starts at 0:00.)

Dialogue #3: Newcomers to Canada and Reconciliation

Monday, January 20, 2020
Crystal Garden, 713 Douglas Street
Thank you to everyone who was able to join us. Guided by Carey Newman and Victoria City Councillor Sharmarke Dubow, this conversation focused on what Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples means to newcomers to Canada, and asked participants to consider their own responsibilities around Reconciliation. Watch the Dialogue #3 archived webcast. (It starts at 0:00.)

Dialogue #4: Sir John A. Macdonald in Conversation

Monday, March 2, 2020
Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas Street
Thank you to those who were able to join us for Dialogue 4. Guided by Dr. Cindy Blackstock and Mayor Lisa Helps, this conversation opened 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 were 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 was not to determine or debate the future home of the statue, but rather to help inform Council decision-making on next steps. View the archived webcast. (It begins at 09:15.)

Sponsorship

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.