Creating space for transformative conversations

Ginger Gosnell-Myers appointed first Indigenous Fellow at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

November 18, 2019

November 18, Vancouver, BC –

The SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue is pleased to welcome Ginger Gosnell-Myers as the centre’s first Indigenous Fellow. She will focus on decolonization and urban Indigenous planning.

“We are very excited about the appointment of Ginger Gosnell-Myers as our first Indigenous Fellow,” says Shauna Sylvester, executive director of the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue.

“Ms. Gosnell-Myers is a thought leader and practitioner who brings a deep understanding of urban Indigenous issues, years of practice in bridging Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in developing public policy, and a passion for innovating engagement processes that advance the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Dialogue Fellows partner with the centre to lead initiatives that address issues of fundamental significance to our communities. Their appointment reflect distinguished achievements in such diverse fields as climate solutions; diversity and innovation; urban sustainability; health, peace and security; and arts and conflict resolution.

“This is the first internally funded fellowship at the centre and demonstrates SFU’s commitment to truth and reconciliation, and to addressing the calls to action of SFU's Aboriginal Reconciliation Council,” says Joanne Curry, vice-president of external relations. “We are honoured to recognize Ginger Gosnell-Myers, a leader in urban Indigenous issues and a current student in SFU’s School of Public Policy.”

Gosnell-Myers, who is a member of the Nisga’a and Kwakwak'awakw Nations, has been bringing forward new perspectives from urban Indigenous peoples for more than 20 years. She breaks down misconceptions about urban Indigenous realities to reframe our understanding of both issues and opportunities. This led to her role as the City of Vancouver’s first Indigenous relations manager, where she played a key role in advancing Vancouver as the world’s first official City of Reconciliation. She also created a reconciliation framework for the city to ensure Indigenous identities and worldviews are respected and reflected in all city plans.

As well, she helped Vancouver City Council to recognize that the city sits on unceded Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh homelands. It is the only government in Canada to officially recognize this truth. She also guided the city as it implemented 28 out of the 94 Calls to Action outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, and to adopt and recognize the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in all aspects of city planning. This has significantly changed how the City of Vancouver operates, and ensures that Vancouver will create a new urban identity that respects, includes and reflects Indigenous culture.

Gosnell-Meyer’s leadership in advancing reconciliation at the city led to numerous awards. These include the 2014 City of Vancouver Service Award, the Legacy Achievement Award – Year of Reconciliation team, the 2014 Union of BC Municipality’s Community Excellence Award: Leadership & Innovation, Accessibility & Inclusion - City of Vancouver’s Year of Reconciliation, and the 2019 Pierre L'Enfant International Planning Award for the Northeast False Creek Plan, "A Plan for Reconciliation."

Gosnell-Myers served as the project manager and public engagement director for the Environics Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study—the largest research study of its kind in Canada. It examines urban Aboriginal peoples’ values, aspirations, experiences and identity – and challengs the misconceptions underlying unjust assumptions and structures that further alienate this exceptional and fast-growing population. In 2010 the UAPS received the Public Policy Impact Award from the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, and the IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Award for not-for-profit organizations.

Gosnell-Myers is a 2004 Action Canada Fellow, former co-chair to the Assembly of First Nations National Youth Council, former president of the Urban Native Youth Association, and sits as a board member for both the Inspirit Foundation and Greenpeace Canada.

A sought-after speaker, she has facilitated and presented at several provincial, national and international events, including the International Indigenous Women & Wellness Conference, the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, and the United Nations’ Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples. She has been featured in the inspirational book: Notes from Canada’s Young Activists: A Generation Stands up for Change (2007), and in a 2012 CBC documentary series,“8th Fire.” She also delivered a TedX Talk: ‘Canadian Shame: A history of Residential Schools,’ and a Walrus Talk: ‘Who do you think we are.’