Exploring Refugee Settlement on Unceded Lands

The Refugee Livelihood Lab recognizes that the process of refugee communities settling and building livelihoods, occurs in relationship to the unceded, ancestral lands and peoples of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations. Unceded means that the territories have never been formally relinquished through treaty.

We are committed to grounding the lab, and it’s social business development aspects, in an ongoing learning process of the systemic experiences of colonization, displacement, assimilation, and struggle for self-determination that affects First Nations and refugee communities in different and overlapping ways.

We will explore the tensions and dilemmas of settling and making a livelihood on unceded lands, asking “what if we could support the wellbeing of all people without replicating and furthering the ongoing harms of colonization?”

Our first stop? Decolonizing Practices for Organizations with Michelle and Marissa Nahanee this July.  Join us there!

To understand more about the relationship between the experiences of Indigenous and refugee communities check out the film screened at our launch:

UPROOTED, by Sepidah Yadegar, featuring Valeen Jules and Yas Pian

Produced by Access to Media Education Society

Applications are NOW OPEN for Beyond Borders, the central program of RADIUS’ Refugee Livelihood Lab. Learn more here.

How does the Refugee Livelihood Lab respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action around Business?

In 2015, the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its report with 94 recommendations. The TRC engaged Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation. The report released in 2015 made a ‘Call to Action’ to specific audiences.

Recommendation #92 asks the corporate sector and their leadership to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The commission calls for meaningful consultation, long term sustainable opportunities from economic development projects as well as education and training for managers on the history of Indigenous people, intercultural competency, human rights and anti-racism.

To respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action on a practical level, we will seek opportunities to connect solutions and economic ventures with the All Our Relations strategy of the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee, and RADIUS/SFU’s First People’s Lab,  as well as engage lab staff, volunteers and Beyond Borders members in learning, self-responsibility and dialogue processes that unpack what it really means to decolonize the lab.