South Asian Studies Institute at UFV Receives $1.14M Funding

Abbotsford – The Province of British Columbia is providing $1.14 million in funding to the South Asian Studies Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley (SASI) with support from the Abbotsford Community Foundation to deliver Haq and History: A Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project.

The funding allows SASI to continue pushing forward work showcasing past and present contributions of the Punjabi community to British Columbia.

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

“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 Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project (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.

“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 honoring the stories and resilience of our multicultural communities.”

This 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.

UFV’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Joanne MacLean is very proud of the work SASI has accomplished, and 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,” MacLean says.

“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:

  • Province-wide digitization of South Asian Canadian collections, including artefacts, photos, texts, materials, oral histories, and other resources for the online South Asian Canadian Digital Archive;
  • Creation of a traveling exhibition on South Asian Canadian history;
  • Documentation and marking of provincial sites of historic importance to South Asian Canadians and B.C. communities;
  • Development of learning resources for South Asian Canadian relevant social studies curriculum for schools in B.C.;
  • Research and development of an online comprehensive B.C. Labour Movements Social Histories Research Project; and
  • Production of a public history book – The South Asian Canadian Social History Project.

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