The South Asian Studies Institute at UFV has been given $1.14 million in funding for the Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project, which includes the digitization of South Asian Canadian collections such as photos and artifacts. (UFV photo)

University of Fraser Valley receives $1.14M for Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project

Funds go to South Asian Studies Institute in Abbotsford

The provincial government is providing $1.14 million for a project through the South Asian Studies Institute (SASI) at University of the Fraser Valley with support from the Abbotsford Community Foundation.

The money will be used for Haq and History: A Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project (PCLP), which showcases the past and current contribution of the Punjabi community to B.C.

“Education is key to fostering a greater respect and appreciation for one another across our communities and society,” said Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains, SASI director.

“A primary goal of the project is to improve the historical record of the significant contributions of South Asian Canadians with the goal of reducing racism while underscoring the value of B.C.’s diverse society.”

The funding is an extension of two phases and six years of combined effort between SASI and the Royal BC Museum.

This partnership has been researching, collecting, and sharing histories through the PCLP across the province.

The effort has been led by the Punjabi Legacies Advisory Committee and with South Asian Canadian community partners in Golden, Prince George, Vancouver Island, Kelowna, Vancouver, Surrey and Abbotsford.

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“The Punjabi Canadian community has a long and unique history that has contributed significantly to the strength and success of our province,” said Premier John Horgan. “The Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project will create a legacy for future generations, while honouring the stories and resilience of our multicultural communities.”

The project is consistent with the call for development of educational resources on the histories and contributions of racialized and Indigenous communities in B.C., heard during the government’s community consultations on racism and hate in the summer of 2019.

Dr. Joanne MacLean, UFV president and vice-chancellor, said she is proud of the work SASI has accomplished, and is equally excited for the advancements this announcement ensures.

“UFV is thrilled to have the important work of SASI recognized in this way, and we’re extremely grateful for this funding that will help acknowledge the invaluable contributions made by B.C.’s Punjabi community,” she said.

“Satwinder is an incredible leader and champion of inclusivity. We’re very proud of her, the entire SASI team, and their extremely important work.”

The Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project will continue to be developed over the next few years to include:

n the province-wide digitization of South Asian Canadian collections, including artifacts, photos, texts, materials, oral histories, and other resources for the online South Asian Canadian Digital Archive;

n the creation of a travelling exhibition on South Asian Canadian history;

n the documentation and marking of provincial sites of historic importance to South Asian Canadians and B.C. communities;

n the development of learning resources for South Asian Canadian relevant social studies curriculum for schools in B.C.;

n the research and development of an online comprehensive B.C. Labour Movements Social Histories Research Project; and

n the production of a public history book – The South Asian Canadian Social History Project.

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Premier John Horgan and Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains, director of the South Asian Studies Institute at UFV, meet to announce funding for the Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project. (Submitted photo)

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