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December 16, 1999

'''Making things better for Aboriginal People and their communities in the Vancouver area

Let’s stop just talking about it…… Let’s start doing it!'''

'Invitation to Vancouver Urban Aboriginal Forum'

This is a time of transition for urban Aboriginal people living in the Vancouver area. The Treaty process, the Aboriginal Peoples Council Round Tables, the Vancouver Agreement and a myriad of services and programs…..all have an impact on the lives of Aboriginal people and their communities in the Vancouver area. And yet, despite all the good intentions for beneficial results, urban Aboriginal people are still at the bottom of a wide range of social indicators: from addictions to health status, education to income, suicide rates to child apprehensions. For too many, conditions don’t seem to be improving.

We believe that it is time for change. It is time for those of us who can make a difference to step forward.

On January 21, 2000, a new era will begin. An era of community action, responsibility and commitment. An era that we invite you to be a part of.

Join us at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre for a one-day forum to share information and ideas, find others with commitment and passion and, most importantly, create solutions for the future of urban Aboriginal people in the Vancouver area.

This will not be another “consultation” meeting with a lot of talk and no follow up. We are committed to seeing this process through. You will not see a collection of “talking heads” telling you what you already know. We will be meeting in Open Space, using the circle, a technology that is as old as the First Nations themselves. We promise to provide you with the space and support that will allow for the creation of solutions for the future. Most important, we will provide an opportunity for commitment for action.

This unique opportunity will bring people who are prepared to work together. They will come from the urban Aboriginal community, from First Nations, from government, from Aboriginal and other service agencies, from the academic and business communities and from organized labour.

We will be there for the whole day and we hope that you can join us at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre at 1650 East Hastings Street in Vancouver:

January 20, 1999 January 21, 1999 Reception Urban Aboriginal Forum 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Attached to this invitation, please find:

• A Registration Form. Please fill it out and fax it to the number indicated; • A Background information sheet on the Open Space process.

If you have any questions concerning this process, please contact the Forum Administrator, Ms. Germaine Langan at (604) 951-8801.

Thank you for your consideration of this important event. We look forward to your participation.

Yours truly,

The Honourable Hedy Fry Chief Leonard George

Planning Committee:

Pacific Council of Senior Federal Officials Mr. Orest Kruhlak Vancouver Aboriginal Council Mr. Blair Harvey Representatives of First Nations Treaty Negotiators Chief Leonard George Mr. Shawn Atleo City of Vancouver Ms. Wendy Au Vancouver Metis Association Mr. Bill Lee Vancouver Economic Development Commission Mr. Frank Came B.C. Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs Mr. Milt Wright Aboriginal Womens Action Network Ms. Faye Blaney

Some Basic Information about the Open Space Process

What is Open Space? Open Space is a “meeting technology” which draws on some very old principles: inclusivity, passion, responsibility, working together and respect. It encourages action rather than endless discussion and leadership rather than blame.

We use this form of meeting because we are looking for answers from around the room. We are looking for people in the community who are willing to collaborate with others, have ideas to share and, most important, are prepared to commit to act.

Open Space is not for everyone. It is for those who are passionate about the problems facing urban Aboriginal people in the Vancouver area and who want to take responsibility for solving those problems.

Where’s the agenda? The agenda will be created in the morning, around a circle. It will be driven by what people want to talk about and it will provide the time needed for ideas to be expressed on the actual issues that matter to the people in the room. There will be no Keynote Speakers, no long drawn out Panel Discussions, no Expert Reports, no Power Point presentations….we promise! If you have issues, bring them. If you have recommendations, bring them. If you have solutions, bring them with you. If you are ready to contribute to the efforts of others, come with your sleeves rolled up. There will be a lot of work to do.

The work will take place in dialogue groups convened by anyone who wishes to step forward and identify an issue, a problem, an area of concern or potential. The groups will be composed of individuals who have a shared interest in the issue. Some groups will be small, others will be larger. Some may grow in size, others may shrink in size.

Who will follow up on our recommendations? We all will. Following the meeting, the Planning Committee will review all of the solutions generated by the meeting and work at bringing together the people who have the capacity to make each one happen. They will organize and publish the issues, recommendations and solutions from the discussions in Open Space and they will follow up on the commitments made in Open Space, with the people who made the commitments.

Who will make the Urban Aboriginal Forum a success? We all will. The CEO of an important corporation may work in a dialogue group with a street worker, a Cabinet Minister, a single mom and maybe, a former drug dealer. They will share a common interest in working together on an important issue. They will offer each other their ideas and solutions. Some may move to another group. Others may arrive and pitch in. They may finish their work in an hour or stay together for the entire day and agree to meet for breakfast the next day! They will make a difference and they will make the Urban Aboriginal Forum a success.


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© 1998-2017 Michael Herman and www.michaelherman.com, unless signed by another author or organization. Please do not reprint or distribute for commercial purposes without permission and full attribution, including web address and this copyright notice. Permission has always been granted gladly to those who contact me and say something about themselves, their work, and their use of these materials. Thank you and good luck! - Michael