New initiative launched to showcase South Asian Canadian contributions to BC

Apr 22 2022, 9:15 pm

A new initiative launched by the South Asian Studies Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley is aiming to reduce racism through education across the province.

South Asian Canadian Legacy Project (SACLP) was created to raise awareness of South Asian Canadians’ contributions to BC, including diverse cultures, history, heritage,
economy, and society.

The project was funded by a $1.14 million grant from the Province of British Columbia along with support from the Abbotsford Community Foundation. SACLP is part of the government’s response to community consultations on racism and hate that were held in 2019.

South Asian Canadian Legacy Project - Surrey Unveiling

South Asian Canadian Legacy Project – Surrey Unveiling (UFV/Submitted)South Asian Canadian Legacy Project – Surrey Unveiling (UFV/Submitted)

“The South Asian Canadian Legacy Project will raise awareness of the many contributions South Asian Canadians have made to our culture, heritage, and economy,” said Premier John Horgan in a release. “It encourages us to learn from the past and take bold steps towards a brighter future. I encourage all British Columbians to explore this project.”

SACLP includes six resources that are available through the initiative’s website, including educator resources, a travelling museum, a labour history exhibit, and more.

Saffron Threads provides BC’s K-12 teachers with culturally relevant activity plans that highlight South Asian Canadian history, culture, and heritage. The resource was developed in collaboration with teachers from the South Asian Canadian community and gives educators a starting point to integrate a culture that may be unfamiliar to them or their classes.

Another highlight is Haq and History, a bilingual travelling exhibit and outreach kit. Created by UFV in partnership with the Royal BC Museum, Haq and History explores a number of themes, including trans-pacific journeys, families and homes, and community activism for rights and justice.

South Asian Canadian Legacy Project - Surrey Unveiling (UFV)

Satwinder Kaur Bains speaking at the South Asian Canadian Legacy Project – Surrey Unveiling (UFV/Submitted)

BC schools and organizations can request an outreach kit — which includes materials, images, and activities that bring content about the community of Paldi to life — through the Royal BC Museum. Haq and History can also be viewed in the atrium of the Surrey Centre Library until June 30 before it makes its way across BC and into its communities.

“The South Asian Canadian Legacy Project empowers British Columbians to discover, learn, research, and share the rich and robust histories of South Asian Canadians who helped build this beautiful province,” said Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains, Director at the UFV South Asian Studies Institute in a statement.

The UFV South Asian Studies Institute has also created the South Asian Canadian Digital Archive (SACDA). Thousands of photos, documents, and videos from privately held
collections have been digitized to help people discover the South Asian Canadian diaspora.

Those wanting to further explore the history of South Asians across the province can download an e-book copy of A Social History of South Asians in British Columbia. Nineteen authors came together to thread South Asian Canadian stories from 1897 to the present moment.

South Asian Canadian Legacy Project - Surrey Unveiling

South Asian Canadian Legacy Project – Surrey Unveiling (UFV/Submitted)

For more information about the South Asian Canadian Legacy Project, visit saclp.southasiancanadianheritage.ca.

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