Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues

A series of community conversations to explore Reconciliation.

The Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues is a six-part series of conversations that enables the community to explore together what Reconciliation could look like on Lekwungen territory. 

Guided by members of Lekwungen Nations and the City Family, Mayor Lisa Helps, members of City Council 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 conversations about Reconciliation are 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 Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues build on the City’s Witness Reconciliation Program, established in 2017 to bring together 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, forming a group called the City Family.

NOTE: Due to the pandemic, Dialogues #4 and #5 will be rescheduled. 

About the Conversations

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

The Victoria Reconciliation Dialogues series is free to attend and all are welcome. You can choose to ttend some or all of the conversations.

Free childminding is available (up to two hours per conversation) and complimentary refreshments are provided.

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

COVID-19 UPDATE: 

POSTPONED -- Dialogue #5: Community Response to the Victoria Urban Reconciliation Dialogues Event

Following the order from BC’s Public Health Officer prohibiting gatherings to curb the spread of COVID-19, Dialogue #5 which was scheduled for May 4, will be rescheduled. 
Date/time/location: To be announced
Guided by: Janice Simcoe, Camosun College, Mayor Lisa Helps and Victoria City Councillor Marianne Alto 
The Victoria Urban Reconciliation Dialogues held a regional gathering in February to discuss Reconciliation. This conversation will debrief and reflect on the event. 

POSTPONED -- Dialogue #6: Our Shared Future 

Following the order from BC’s Public Health Officer prohibiting gatherings to curb the spread of COVID-19, Dialogue #6 which was scheduled for July 6, will be rescheduled.  
Date/time/location: To be announced
Guided by: Brianna Bear, Rebeccah Nelems, Associate, Cedar Trees Institute, University of Victoria, and Mayor Lisa Helps
The final conversation will be youth-led, asking participants to think about a shared future from the perspective of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. The conversation will be forward-looking, identifying community-generated, collaborative Reconciliation activities in which residents and the City of Victoria might engage in the future.

Previous Dialogues

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

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.