Urban Indigenous Self-determination symposium


Thank you for your interest in the the Urban Indigenous Self-Determination Symposium being hosted in Vancouver on November 23rd and 24th. We are excited that there has been such a positive response to our event which unfortunately means that we are now at capacity for our venue. All the presentations will be recorded and made available online shortly following the event, so if you are interested in receiving the links to the recording, please click here to provide us with your contact information.

Northwest Indigenous Council

Invites you to join our Symposium on Urban Indigenous Self-Determination, on November 23 and 24th, 2023. The Symposium will be held in Vancouver, on the traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. 

The purpose of the Symposium is to deepen the dialogue within urban Indigenous communities, First Nations, and governments about implementing the right to self-determination in an urban context. Specifically, the adoption of the Declaration by BC and Canada presents a historic opportunity to implement self-determination in the places where the majority of Indigenous people in Canada live. Affirming this right in an urban context affirms that Indigenous rights, and Indigenous people, are capable of evolving, changing, and adopting new forms of social and political life, and that these are not subordinate to the settler state. Urban communities, then, are a central location in the urgent project of decolonization.

NWIC is hosting the Symposium at this time because we believe that a clear focus on the right of self-determination is critical: without Indigenous advocacy, governments will steer the Declaration implementation to program funding and service coordination, and urban communities will continue to be denied their inherent right to self-determination. The Symposium is intended to ensure this important dimension of the Declaration remains front and centre.

The intent is to generate free flowing, creative, and forward-looking conversations that can help communities to imagine what self-determination looks like in an urban context. The agenda is being organized to recognize the central role Indigenous women have played in urban organizing, and the urgent need to give voice to Indigenous youth.

Thanks to support from Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, there is no cost to participate in the Symposium. We require all participants to register for the Symposium by November 10th, 2023 as our venue has limited capacity, we are providing meals, and we are curating discussion groups. 


The Symposium will take place at 312 Main St, Vancouver, BC. When hosting an event focused on the urban Indigenous community, it was deemed important to not hold it in a hotel conference room, removed from the realities that the community is facing and experiencing. Thus, the decision to host the event at 312 Main St was easy to make. The venue is a community-centred hub that fosters collaboration and innovation among organizations, artists, and entrepreneurs, and is located in one of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Canada and home to a high number of Indigenous Peoples. Please note that access to the building is through an intercom admittance system, so upon arriving at the venue, you will need to buzz the front desk to be let in.

Travel arrangements

Thanks to financial support from Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, NWIC is not charging a registration fee for participation in the Symposium. However, this means that all participants, aside from presenters/panelists, are fully responsible for their expenses and logistics to attend the Symposium. 

 Light morning refreshments (baked goods, coffee/tea, fruit etc), lunch, and nutrition breaks will be provided as part of the Symposium. Participants will be responsible for their own dinner and incidental costs.


As the Symposium is not being hosted in a hotel, there have been no arrangements or commitments made for participant accommodations. There are no hotels within the immediate vicinity of the meeting venue, however, the ones listed below are within a short distance and accessible via walking, transit, or ride-hailing. When booking an accommodation, please inquire about Government and/or First Nations Rates:

  • Skwachàys Lodge Indigenous Hotel: The Vancouver Native Housing Society operates this unique Indigenous social enterprise combining a boutique hotel with a street-level art gallery that supports on-site housing and studio space for 24 Indigenous artists.

  • Victorian Hotel: A Lifestyle Boutique Hotel With A Historic, Golden-Era Past. Located in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. This is The Victorian. Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush. Modern amenities & historical character intertwine to create an unforgettable experience.

  • Sandman Hotel Vancouver Downtown: With comfortable rooms and suites to meet any need, you’ll love the proximity to popular city landmarks as Downtown Vancouver is just outside our doors waiting for you to check it all out. The hotel offers casual dining at Moxies or get your sports fix in at Shark Club Sports Bar & Grill—both located on-site. Sandman Hotel Vancouver Downtown is more than just a spot to sleep for the night. It’s part of the downtown experience.

  • YWCA Hotel Vancouver: The hotel offers comfortable, safe and affordable accommodation in the heart of downtown’s art and entertainment scene. Whether traveling with a group, a friend or on your own, they have a room to suit your needs and budget. As a social enterprise hotel by YWCA Metro Vancouver, all revenue generated go to support YWCA community programs and services supporting single moms and families. 

  • Georgian Court Hotel, WorldHotels Elite: Located steps from the highlights of the city, the Georgian Court Hotel is one of the finest boutique hotels in Vancouver. Conveniently located just steps from BC Place Stadium, Rogers Arena, trendy Robson Street, and many of the city’s main attractions, the Georgian Court blends timeless style and service with modern elegance. Experience sophisticated comfort and exceptional value with their 180 spacious guest rooms, executive suites and luxurious penthouse suites

  • Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Vancouver-Downtown: Located on the corner of the Robson Street entertainment district, the hotel is across from BC Place and a short walk from Rogers Arena. Gastown’s renowned restaurant and shopping scene is five minutes away. Free hot breakfast, free WiFi, and a rooftop whirlpool are all yours.

  • Hotel BLU Vancouver: A Four Diamond and AAA-rated boutique hotel, is an excellent choice among luxury hotels in Vancouver, that go the extra mile. Known for its stylish accommodation, luxury amenities and warm West Coast hospitality – their prime location at the corner of Robson and Cambie Streets makes them a very desirable place to stay. Hotel BLU’s deluxe rooms, elegant suites and exclusive two-story New York style loft units are fully equipped with the latest technology and sustainable practices.

  • Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown Suites: An all-suite hotel within walking distance of Yaletown, Stanley Park, the Waterfront Station and Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood, as well as trendy shops and local restaurants. The pet-friendly suites feature flat-screen TVs with Netflix, mini-fridges and separate bedrooms and living areas. Enjoy amenities like a fully equipped, 24-hour fitness centre and the full-service restaurant, Stock & Supply. 
  • St Regis Hotel: Perfectly located in the heart of the city, the independent, 100% Canadian-owned and operated St. Regis Hotel is Vancouver’s best choice for warm, personal service and stylish boutique accommodations. The hotel has been welcoming visitors to Vancouver for over a century and its heritage building has been completely renovated to the highest level of modern comfort and finish. The rooms are fitted with all modern conveniences and every winter, each room is taken out of service so that it can be stripped, deep cleaned, and refurbished to ensure every room is always in perfect, as-new condition.

  • L’Hermitage Vancouver: L’Hermitage Hotel Vancouver is a luxury boutique hotel located on the corner of Robson and Richards Streets in the very heart of Vancouver’s shopping and business district.

As Vancouver is a very popular destination year-round, we encourage you to secure your accommodation needs as soon as possible.


Unfortunately, there will be no live French translation provided for the Symposium. Translated transcripts of the presentations and reports will be available online in early 2024.


Presentations at the Symposium will be recorded and made available online following the event. Photographs and video recording will be taken and shared on NWIC social media channels, and may be included in the What We Heard Report, event summary, and other relevant NWIC publications.


If you require assistance with the registration process, please email us symposium@nwindigenous.org

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