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#2.)   WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE APOLOGY MADE BY THE
           MINISTER ON BEHALF OF THE ENTIRE LEGISLATURE OF BC?

 

The Chinese Community believes that the Premier of British Columbia Christy Clark read the formal apology in the provincial legislature, Honourable Teresa Wat to introduce the motion, supported by all parties in the BC government, in front of an invited audience of Chinese Head Tax delegation, and in an address to be broadcast nationally on the CBC at the next sitting of the Legislature.

 

 

 

 


#3.)     DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR LEGACY INITIATIVES
            SHAPED BY YOUR HISTORICAL UNDERSTANDING OR PERSONAL   
            EXPERIENCES?

 

Twenty years ago, the Chinese Cultural Association wanted to explore the Chinese people in Kamloops.  We found that Kamloops had a population of over one third that was Chinese in 1892 and that Mayor Peter Wing was the 1st Chinese mayor in North America.  As we search the Kamloops Museum and Archives, we found that the Chinese was in Kamloops mining the Tranquille Creek gold mine back in `1858 and later over 10,000 Chinese were in the Kamloops region building the CPR railway between 1880 – 1885.  On further research, we found that the Chinese only cemetery was the oldest cemetery in Kamloops dating back to 1860s and the people who were buried were most railway workers and members of the Kamloops Chinese Freemasons. 

 

In October 2002, BC Government proclaimed and declared the week of November 1-7 inclusive as the Pioneer Chinese Railway Workers’ Week. 

 

In October 2004, Kamloops City Council endorsed support in principle for the development of the Chinese Heroes of Confederation project – building a museum in the future. 

 

In May 2005, the CPR dedicated the Kamloops Interchange as the Cheng Interchange.

 

In November 2010, the Chinese Cultural Association took on the Community Historical Recognition Program funded by the Federal Government after apologizing to the Chinese community for the Chinese Head Tax in 2006.

 

To-date, The Chinese Community is working to research the graves and enhance the Kamloops Chinese Heritage Cemetery.  We can confirm that there are 248 burial graves at the cemetery most of the people buried were members of the Chinese Freemasons and numerous graves with no names.  We are working together with the City of Kamloops to enhance the cemetery and properly honor the dead.

 

The Chinese Community believes that we have the knowledge and past experience to assist BC Government to built a lasting legacy on behalf of the Chinese British Columbians who suffered legislated inequality and discrimination in the 1800s and 1900s by multiple forms of discriminatory legislations.

 

To be respectful and meaningful to the historical Chinese British Columbian, word are not enough, there must be something more to express and educate the future generations.  Young people today believe that a world in the past never existed, it never happened because it was not in their generations and that it could never happen to them if it did. 

 

There have been talks about establishing a monument for both visitors and memorial.  The Chinese Community believes that there are too many belated plaques and monuments.  They are not sufficient to educate the future generations. It would be respectful if a memorial can be built to remember the historical Chinese British Columbians in a meaningful way of preserving the many stories of the past and current events and educating the young people of today and in the future. 

 

The Chinese Community believes that word are not enough and that a museum should be provided to house all the information for the future generations through education when children are guide to the museum for historical and cultural schoolings.  We are not asking for a stand alone museum but part of a new Kamloops museum and archive.  Why a new Kamloops museum?  Because the current museum is too small, there is no room for good displays or room for a permanent display for honouring the Chinese British Columbians, the archive standards are not up-to-date, and the accommodation for the young people is not inducive.

 

The BC government should also be supporting the museum as a cultural economic tourism industry.  For example, the City of Guangzhou is building an Oversea Chinese Museum which will feature a permanent exhibit for the Canadian Chinese Railway Workers, and a monument that is designed by a Canadian artist whose children are descendants of a railway worker in Canada.

 

On a personal note, when I was touring in China, I observed that villages were unearthing historical walls and buildings and from what the tour guide said, “the villages were restoring the historical area for cultural tourism.  This could be a cultural tourism and trade opportune for Kamloops because of the strong historical culture of the Chinese history.

 

The Chinese Community would like to see a major museum legacy.  In the Chinese Canadian historical timeline, there has been none or very little information on the pioneer Chinese.  Even Mayor Peter Wing who was the 1st Chinese mayor of Chinese descent was missed in some historical books.  We need to up-date the histories of Kamloops.  Here are some of the reasons why Kamloops is the choice place for a museum  legacy to honour Chinese British Columbians:

 

1858, 300 Chinese came to gold mine at Tranquille Creek,  

1860,  this is oldest cemetery date for Kamloops Chinese Heritage Cemetery

1880-1885, Planning and construction date for the CPR started in Kamloops, over 10,000 Chinese workers in the Kamloops and Regions

1884,  the arrival date of the Chinese Freemasons in Kamloops.

1890, A report that one third of the Kamloops population was Chinese

1896,  First branch of the Kamloops Chinese Freemasons established

1965,  Mayor Peter Wing – North America’s first mayor of Chinese descent

1985,  Kamloops Chinese only cemetery became a heritage cemetery

2002Proclamation of the Pioneer Chinese Railway Workers’ Week states the
followings:

WHEREAS the pioneer Chinese railway workers are recognized for their sacrifices and contributions, determination and achievement in constructing the Canadian Pacific Railway in British Columbia, and

WHEREAS Kamloops and Region was a centre for railway construction during the 1880’s and the home of many of the pioneer Chinese railway Workers, and

WHEREAS Kamloops has one of the largest Chinese cemeteries in British Columbia, and

 

2004,   Kamloops City Council endorsed in principle to support the Heroes of Confederation project.  City Council also received numerous letters of supports from various cities in British Columbia.

 

Kamloops was the centre of the historical past in opening up the Interior of British Columbia.  Let’s restore Kamloops as a centre for historical destination, a place of cultural learning, and home of the many forgotten Chinese British Columbians that help to build Kamloops and Canada.

 

The Chinese Community is ready to help and participate to make this a reality.  This museum would be respectful and meaningful to the Chinese British Columbians and to the future generation of our young people to learn from the past and work for a better and understanding future generation.

 

I will end my talk with a request on behalf of The Chinese Community to the Honourable Teresa Wat.  We are looking forward to meeting with the Minister to help build a new Kamloops museum and archive in Kamloops and include the Chinese museum as part of the new Kamloops museum. The Chinese Community is willing, eager, and to work with the City of Kamloops. 

 

Again I will repeat a quote from Henry Glassie, 

 

“History is not the past.  It is a story about the past, told in the present, and designed to be useful in constructing the future”

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Lyle Anderson, KCCA, Kamloops BC.              landerso12@shaw.ca       250-376-5390

December 19, 2013.

 

#3.)     DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR LEGACY INITIATIVES
            SHAPED BY YOUR HISTORICAL UNDERSTANDING OR PERSONAL   
            EXPERIENCES?

  

The question asked of the Kamloops Chinese Cultural Association was what wording would best describe the feeling and the wishes of the Chinese people for the Provincial Government to officially apologise for the implementation of the historical Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, which had often been referred to as the Chinese Exclusion Act.

This Submission is presented to suggest that the Chinese Cultural Association would prefer that any apology also include a permanent Chinese Historical Display, not a sign or plaque, but a completely informative and visible display in a Museum, as an alternative to an “Apology Only” plan.

 

For the future generations to properly understand what caused the “Wrongs” that we discuss here, there must be adequate information and visual means for them to fully understand what caused that situation to evolve in the first place.  A permanent Display would be more desirable, more visible, and more appropriate.

 

The KCCA ensures you that we stand ready to assist the provincial government in every way possible to ensure we all reach our individual goals for the future.

 

We have a record of reaching many goals while recording a considerable history in the study of our Chinese Pioneers of British Columbia. 

One study was the result of those Chinese who campaigned for head-tax redress which Mr. Harper promised in his 2006 apology, was funding for what became the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP) to educate Canadians about this period of history. 

KCCA worked under the CHRP program and partnered with the University of British Columbia (UBC).  We completed a family life study through personal interviews with a total of 8 typical Chinese families in BC who had ancestors that had to pay the “Chinese Head Tax” to enter Canada.  Three families in Golden BC and five in our Kamloops region were studied to record their progress from the time of their ancestors paying the head-tax to the present time. 

This study had been established at the UBC as part of their Chinese Historical program.  The legacy of those histories has been an excellent resource for the UBC students and visitors, and continues to be available for future students as well as general public researchers through the UBC Website.

It is the intent of KCCA to continue in the quest for more historical data, artifacts, and personal histories. It is also our intent to establish a meaningful and truly visible history through the building of a Chinese Historical Museum to detail Chinese histories through visual media and the displaying of artifacts. For example, it would be ideal to develop, plan, and share in the building of some specified spaces or even a complete building wing within the proposed new Kamloops Museum & Archives, if that proposal becomes a reality. 

This plan would be a permanent solution to the question of what would be the most suitable and most meaningful legacy to contain our present BC Government’s official apology for the historical “wrongs” done in the past to affect the Chinese who tried or wished to become residents in British Columbia, or those who wished to bring family members into Canada.  We believe that Kamloops is the proper place to locate such museum rooms with Chinese Heritage displays.

Our reasoning is as follows:

v  Our Chinese history dates back to the times of the Cattle Drives from the USA in the late 1700’s when some Chinese helped with those drives in order to get to the areas of the early Gold discoveries in BC.  They had to remain in our region over the winter when the cattle needed winter range for survival.

v  Some came only to seek Gold which was discovered in the Cariboo region and even in many local Kamloops and the surrounding area creek beds.  Tranquille Creek locally was a particularly popular creek for the men to try out their gold panning skills and as well to search for Jade rock.

v  Other Chinese came by ship and by groups from USA where they had worked on railway construction, and they eventually reached Kamloops to seek the CPR labour camps.

v  We also had many Chinese workers who remained on duty at nearby Cattle Ranches as cooks, blacksmiths, and worked in cattle care and feed storage. 

v  Kamloops continued to become a major supply centre for the CP Railway construction gangs and the supply of all the railway’s construction materials.

v  Mr. Andrew Onderdonk, who was the Contractor for the Kamloops to Craigellachie contract for the CPR, made Kamloops his headquarters.  Some of his family continue to live here today.  They have indicated their support for supplying some artifacts for our proposed Chinese Pioneers and Railway Workers Museum in Kamloops.

v  The CP Railway has already officially proclaimed the local CPR and CNR Interchange Track in the Kamloops rail-yards as the “Cheng Interchange as an Honour to the historical Chinese Railway Workers whose hard work and sacrifices enabled the completion of the railway across Canada.

v  The Kamloops Chinese Heritage Cemetery is the only one remaining that is truly Historical Chinese and dedicated as such. It is now being planned for landscaping together with other planning for greater public viewing and understanding of its importance to Kamloops and BC’s early history. The Chinese Consulate office in Vancouver is working with KCCA and the Chinese Heritage Cemetery Society to complete this honourable task.

 

In closing, it would be our honour to work closely with Minister Teresa Wat and the British Columbia Government in any manner possible to establish a permanent legacy and remembrance area in Kamloops which would forever honour our Pioneer Chinese Citizens of British Columbia.  We realize that direct financial contribution has been noted as not directly available, however, there are perhaps ways that the government may assist us in other methods or means of achieving that financial goal.

We certainly look forward to working with you in the future.

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