Tag Archive for: Diversity

A Rainbow of Culture in Rosthern

Aboriginal, Anti-Racism, Beardy’s Okemasis’ Cree Nation, culture, Diversity, EAL, f, Filipino, First Nations and Metis, From Many Peoples Strength, immigrant, Immigration, Indigenous Peoples, MCoS, multicultural, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, multiculturalism, Newcomer, Partnership, Refugee, refugee family, Rosthern, saskatchewan, volunteer

Mayor Dennis Helmuth of Rosthern and Chief Roy Petit of Beardys Okemasis First Nation signing a Friendship Agreement in Rosthern, Fall 2017. This action taken by these two forward thinking and wonderful community leaders was nationally recognized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.


With immigration at an all-time high in Saskatchewan, creating welcoming and inclusive communities for newcomers has never been more crucial. When people like where they live, feel needed and valued, and are able to sustain a comfortable way of life, they stay where they are and draw others into the community. It is a simple equation that the town of Rosthern has taken to the next level.

We moved here because two of my friends already lived here and they told us there were good job opportunities. So we felt very welcome here, especially our kids.

Several groups in Rosthern have sponsored refugee families, and word of mouth tends to travel far and wide when someone is settled and loving the community. Such was the case for Josephine and her family who moved from the Philippines in 2010. “We moved here because two of my friends already lived here and they told us there were good job opportunities. So we felt very welcome here, especially our kids. We really like Rosthern because it’s a very peaceful place; people are so nice, very friendly, helpful, caring, trusting and kind. I feel like we really belong here because we are treated equally.” Approximately 20 separate Filipino families call Rosthern home among dozens of other newcomers, and that surprises visitors to the town. But Josephine says it is also the many amenities in Rosthern like the hospital, banks, grocery store, and restaurants that keep people here. “We also like that the school is so close to our house. It makes life here very convenient.”
The two public schools in Rosthern are made up of approximately 25% English as an
Additional Language (EAL) students in their classrooms. It is a very high percentage that has the children teaching the adults a thing or two about embracing every colour of our cultural rainbow. Picking up bits and pieces of different languages has become the norm for the kids, giggling and encouraging each other to try out new words. Rosthern also has several adult EAL classes run by different volunteer groups that reach out into the community to expand the experiences of their students on a regular basis.
A diverse community displaying multiculturalism prospers in Rosthern: German, Métis, Filipino, Ukrainian, Syrian, Burmese, First Nations, Persian, East Indian, Karen, and the list just keeps growing! Mariam, a Syrian wife and mother says that the expanding multiculturalism is one of the reasons they liked Rosthern so much. “We do not feel that we are far from our families, we found a beautiful country and beautiful people here.” For Josephine, successful multiculturalism means “… living or being in a place where there is harmony, unity, respect and peace despite our differences in culture and beliefs.”

For Josephine, successful multiculturalism means “… living or being in a place where there is harmony, unity, respect and peace despite our differences in culture and beliefs.”

With that spirit of equal partnership, Rosthern and their friends to the North at Beardy’s Okemasis’ Cree Nation, recently signed a Friendship Agreement to solidify both communities’ commitment to working together. Chief of Beardy’s Okemasis’ Cree Nation, Roy Petit, and Mayor of Rosthern, Dennis Helmuth, are setting an example of creating welcoming and inclusive communities and embracing multiculturalism that shines like a bright beacon of hope. A beacon that welcomes all cultures, and because of this, will accomplish great things.

Photo Gallery

This blog was written and submitted by Kate Kading

International Women’s Day – Progress of Indigenous Women

Submitted by Guest Blogger, Jaspal Gill
International Women’s Day was started by the Suffragettes movement in the early 1900s, with the earliest celebration occurring in 1911. In particular there was outrage over a factory fire causing multiple deaths in New York in 1908. The cry for “Bread and Roses” is symbolic. The Roses represent women’s desire for better working conditions, and the bread represents the call for sustainable wages so as to be able to feed the families. Now, this day is celebrated every year in March worldwide to acknowledge the contribution of women. Each of us can play a purposeful role in the progress of women. With respect especially to the needs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women, one way that we can work to advance this progress is by engaging immigrants into this dialogue.

With respect especially to the needs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women, one way that we can work to advance this progress is by engaging immigrants into this dialogue.

As a South Asian immigrant woman, I have learned to appreciate the distinct strengths and values of Indigenous women in Canada, as well as the distinct needs and problems they face. The most challenging factor for immigrant women is finding the time to learn about other cultures.  Encouragement will help newcomers find the time. When I first moved to Canada, in 2002, options were limited for me and engaging with others was tough. I had little time to learn about the Canadian culture in general, let alone Indigenous cultures. But as I became more involved with the community for the last 14 years in Ontario, I realized I was not educated enough about their cultures in Canada. When looking to settle down in a new land, it is often easy to forget to learn about the Indigenous peoples in our new land.
In my case, the challenges of raising a family, finding a job, and learning to understand the system, deterred me from learning about Indigenous peoples, societies, and cultures. But I now realize that it is extremely important to encourage newcomers to understand and appreciate the role of Indigenous cultures in shaping Canada’s heritage, and connecting Canadian society to the land. Of course, this is not just important for newcomer Canadians, but for all Canadians as well.

But I now realize that it is extremely important to encourage newcomers to understand and appreciate the role of Indigenous cultures in shaping Canada’s heritage, and connecting Canadian society to the land.

Racism remains prevalent in Canada, even for a fastpaced developing society, despite past efforts from the people who broke barriers for change, activists such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Unfortunately, women often end up being the target of racist attacks. South Asian immigrants need to do more to learn about the oppression of Indigenous peoples, to understand Indigenous cultures and values, and to stand with Indigenous women in the fight against racism, violence, and discrimination.
In my experience, many of my South Asian peers were not familiar with the cultural values or norms associated with Indigenous societies. Thankfully, the children of South Asian families are educated about the history and culture of Indigenous peoples growing up in Canadian schools.  However, those of us who immigrated as adults have to go out of our way to educate ourselves. It is imperative for dialogue to open up, and for public education for newcomer adults to include learning about Indigenous societies, history, cultures, and present conditions.
After moving to Treaty 6 Territory two years ago, I was shocked to witness the challenges Indigenous people face, especially the women. Educating ourselves will help us newcomers to assist in the eradication of oppression of Indigenous peoples, especially within the judicial system, rooted in racism within Canadian society. As South Asians have our own history of strong advocates for change, like Gandhi, we are natural allies in the battle against oppression of Indigenous Canadians.

After moving to Treaty 6 Territory two years ago, I was shocked to witness the challenges Indigenous people face, especially the women.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called for providing better information for newcomers about the history of the diverse Indigenous peoples of Canada (Call to Action #93). More education is needed to give new Canadians a better understanding of Indigenous cultures and to engage them in Indigenous issues. This education is imperative so that new Canadians better serve Indigenous peoples and become involved in supporting the progress of Indigenous women. The immigrant’s participation during this process will make a significant difference in the community, and is absolutely necessary for reconciliation.
Oppressed Indigenous women can make progress this International Women’s Day, through raising awareness of their problems among the public, and by setting goals to work towards. The thematic discussion of this special day in March provides vast scope to discuss many issues affecting women. The physical limitations of poverty, violent acts against women, damage to self-esteem through the effects of negative media portrayals and stereotypical remarks, are all problems requiring attention in our shared struggle for equal rights. Awareness can be increased through social media: sharing and posting, on various platforms, about issues affecting women. Raising awareness online is one way to help spread the word and give these issues the attention they deserve.
Working as a legal professional in Prince Albert, I witness everyday the circumstances Indigenous people go through within the community. There are many ways that we all can become a part of the solution. Through the use of grassroots organizations, we have an opportunity to address the problem of oppression in Canada. By reaching out in the local communities to raise awareness of the issues affecting Indigenous peoples and vulnerable members of society, we can journey towards realizing real solutions. Such a journey will be well worth the effort.
We can engage the immigrant population on a grassroots level to become active participants in this journey. For example, a sizeable portion of immigrants have a preconceived notion that jury duty may be a risk to their lives. We need to educate newcomers that in Canada, this is simply not true.
At this time, we need everyone to participate in their local community and put their best foot forward, so that our nation, Canada, will feel like a home, rather than a house. As a step in the right direction, our generation must confront the shame and tragedy of racism, in order to end the marginalization of Indigenous women. Newcomers from South Asia and other parts of the world, especially those of us who are visible minorities, can play a role in raising awareness this International Women’s Day.

As a step in the right direction, our generation must confront the shame and tragedy of racism, in order to end the marginalization of Indigenous women.

Let’s make International Women’s Day this March 8, 2018 a successful one by engaging immigrants to take action and transform the lives of Indigenous women!


Aboriginal, Anti-Racism, culture, Diversity, EAL, Filipino, First Nations and Metis, From Many Peoples Strength, immigrant, Immigration, Indigenous Peoples, MCoS, multicultural, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, multiculturalism, Newcomer, Partnership, Refugee, refugee family, saskatchewan, volunteer, TRC, reconciliationJaspal Gill is a lawyer at Arnot Heffernan Slobodian Law Office in Prince Albert. She carries on a general practice in all areas of law, with a particular interest on Criminal Law and Family Law. Jaspal also often conducts hearings of landlords and tenants disputes in Saskatchewan as a Hearing officer with the Office of Residential Tenancies. She has a diverse background which includes volunteering and community involvement. She is on the Development Appeals Board of the City of Prince Albert, the Board of Directors of YWCA Prince Albert and Prince Albert Multicultural Council.
 

March 21 Campaign: Show Racism the Door and #MarchOutRacismMarch 21, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, MCoS, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, Racsim, Discrimination

March 21st is designated by the United Nations (UN) as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It’s a day observed all around the world to focus attention on the problems of racism and the need to promote racial harmony.
During the month of March, MCoS is running a provincial campaign featuring the theme “Show Racism the Door”. This year, we created a downloadable PDF activity kit. We have also launched a social media campaign to accompany this campaign using #MarchOutRacism.
We invite members, partners, schools, workplaces, faith groups, etc. to download a free activity kit and execute it leading up to March 21st and record it with photos and video and post to social media using #MarchOutRacism.


Learn more about March 21st: http://mcos.ca/march21st/
Join the campaign and download your free activity kit here: http://mcos.ca/marchoutracism
View and download: March 21st Events and Resources
Join the conversation on social media using #MarchOutRacism

MCoS Perception Survey 2018

Tell us what you think!

We’d love to find out your perceptions about MCoS!

Greetings to our valued members, partners, funders and friends!
MCoS is taking on an ambitious project to develop a positioning statement to set our future direction. This is where you come in: we need you to tell us what we are doing well and what we could do better.
So, don’t be shy! Tell us how we are doing.
Create your own user feedback survey

MCoS Honours 2017 demonstrates what makes a multicultural superhero

On Saturday, November 18, 2017 in the beautiful and sacred surroundings of Wanuskewin Heritage Park, over 60 people gathered to honour volunteers who have made significant contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. This annual event is the highlight of Saskatchewan Multicultural Week, which takes place November 18-26, 2017. This week recognizes that Saskatchewan was the first province in Canada to enact multicultural legislation. We celebrate our strength in diversity and recognize that our cultures enrich all aspects of life in our province.

2017 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award Recipient Bwe Doh Soe and 2017 Betty Szuchewycz Award Recipient Bula Ghosh

Jebunnessa Chapola, past recipient of the Betty Szuchewycz Award, was the Master of Ceremonies. Harvey Knight, MCoS Board member and member of Muskoday First Nation, commenced the event with a blessing. We were pleased Mr. David Buckingham, MLA for Saskatoon Westview, joined us and brought remarks on behalf of the Minister for Parks, Culture and Sport, who is responsible for the Saskatchewan Multiculturalism Act. MCoS President Asit Sarkar provided opening remarks and introduced the video and spoken word presentation.
The presentation highlighted this year’s public campaign. For the video, we created a 30-second ad that featured Janelle Pewapsconias, 2015 recipient of the Multicultural Youth Leadership Award, sharing her multicultural superhero Zoey Pricelys Roy. Then, Zoey replied live by sharing her multicultural superhero, Kadane Headley, through spoken word. Zoey is a powerful speaker and her impactful sharing left an impression on the audience.
Guests were invited to attend a reception following the program that featured delicious cultural cuisine created by Wanuskewin Heritage Park Authority Catering, including Three Sisters Chili, bannock and Saskatoon Berry Tarts. Guests were also welcome to view an educational public dance performance and participate in a walking tour of Wanuskwein.

MLA David Buckingham, SGEU Secretary-Treasurer, Roseann Strelezki, 2017 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award Recipient Bwe Doh Soe, MCoS ED Rhonda Rosenberg, 2017 Betty Szuchewycz Award Recipient Bula Ghosh, MCoS Secretary and Chair of the Recognition Committee Renata Cosic and MCoS President Asit Sarkar.

Nominees for both awards are assessed on their contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan through the five streams of multicultural work: cultural continuity, cultural diversity, anti-racism, intercultural connections and integration. A recognition committee decides the recipients.
The Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan was pleased to present the 2017 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award in partnership with the Saskatchewan Government Employees’ Union (SGEU). Roseann Strelezki, SGEU Secretary-Treasurer, brought remarks and introduced the award. SGEU also generously donated a $500 reward.
Bwe Doh Soe received the 2017 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award. Bwe arrived in Saskatoon as a Karen refugee in 2007. Not only has Bwe survived ethnic cleansing and life as a refugee, but he has become a crusader for the Karen people. He has been impressively active in continuing and preserving his own cultural practices and supporting others in the Karen community. He has more recently begun to connect his experiences to both Syrian refugees and Indigenous people in Canada and acted as a leader for creative reconciliation. (Read full bio)
Once again, the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan presented the 2017 Betty Szuchewycz Award. Renata Cosic, MCoS Secretary and Chair of the Recognition Committee, introduced the award and the recipient. The recipient will select a charity for a donation of $500 from MCoS.

Spoken Word artist, Zoey Pricelys Roy, shares her multicultural superhero, Kadane Headley.

Bula Ghosh received the 2017 Betty Szuchewycz Award. There is no question that Bula’s contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan have been outstanding. As an English as a Subsequent Language instructor in Yorkton and Swift Current, Bula has ensured that integration efforts go far beyond the classroom. She has contributed to local organizations, including revitalizing the Southwest Multicultural Association, to provincial boards and committees, including SaskCulture, and has been recognized at the national level. Bula never hesitates to share rural perspectives and she has demonstrated commitment to relationship building and anti-racism. Bula has made it known that truth and reconciliation is very much part of a dream that she has for her community. Bula embodies the five streams of multicultural work. (Read full bio)
The Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan wishes to thank everyone for participating in the MCoS Multicultural Honours Awards. This event highlighted some of Saskatchewan’s very own multicultural superheroes. We encourage everyone to participate in the provincial campaign, Who’s Your Multicultural Superhero | #MulticulturalSuperhero running until November 30, 2017.

Learn more and participate

Who’s your Multicultural Superhero Campaign
Saskatchewan Multicultural Week 2017
Building Welcoming Communities Resources

Campaign Video

Event photos (resized for the web)

 

Islamic History Month – Profile 2: Mohamed and Fatima Hattum

Fatima and Mohamed Hattum have been living and farming near the Swift Current area in Saskatchewan all their lives. Mohamed lives at the same farm he was born at, while Fatima immigrated

Courtesy swiftcurrentonline.com

Courtesy swiftcurrentonline.com


to Saskatchewan from Lebanon to marry him in November 1978. “When I arrived we were the only Muslims in the area. Now there are around 20 Muslim families and we are supporting two Syrian refugee families who arrived this year,” explains Fatima. “We have become their family here in Canada just like the community of Swift Current became mine when I first arrived.” Fatima and Mohamed raised three children, two girls and one boy, who also live and work in Saskatchewan. The Hattums have welcomed two grandchildren into their family.
Mohamed is part of six generations of the Hattum family, who all inherited the farm from their grandfather who arrived in the area in 1916. Initially, the Hattums found a rented space to gather and use as an Islamic Centre. In 1982, through Canada-wide fundraising, they bought the current mosque as their permanent facility to run a Sunday school and offer regular prayers. It also serves as a communal place for funerals and various other community needs.
Fatima is the one who kept the Arabic language alive in the family. “I spoke the language and also taught Mohamed’s family Arabic. I started a school in the mosque’s basement for children who wanted to learn. Families used to drive three-and-a-half hours to get to the mosque just to socialize with other Muslim kids and to take Arabic lessons,” recalls Fatima. “We used to have potlucks every Friday and invited our neighbours and the larger community to it. People are still in awe when they learn about Islam and what it means to be a Muslim; I just sit there and cry because it warms my heart.”
When they are not farming, you will find the Hattums heavily invested in their local community. This includes having garage sales to renovate the mosque, renovating and cleaning the mosque and planning social gatherings where they invite everyone to the mosque. They also enjoy encouraging and educating people to learn about Islam. As Fatima wittingly puts it, “We are here and we are here to stay.”
Learn about Islamic History Month Canada


Related Links

Profile 1: Dr. Ali Rajput
Islamic History Month Canada

Islamic History Month – Profile: Dr. Ali Rajput

Islamic, Muslim, Islam, Islamic History Month Canada, MCoS, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, Diversity, Racism, Islamphobia, Anti-Racism, Multiculturalism

Dr. Ali Rajput circa 2014.


Ali Rajput grew up in Pakistan. He completed a neurology residency and obtained Master’s in Neurology at the University of Michigan. He joined the University of Saskatchewan Medical Faculty in 1967 and served as Professor and Head of Neurology
When Dr. Rajput arrived in Saskatchewan in 1967, there were very few Muslims in Saskatoon. He recalls, “The day I arrived, two other Muslims also arrived, but they left within couple of years. My guess is that there were close to dozen of us.”Dr. Rajput explains that the Islamic Association was formed by others including Dr. Ahmed El-Serafi in early 1970s who was an early member. “We used to hold Friday prayers at the University. The concept of a mosque was floated around the Islamic Association of Saskatoon but the cost was ten times more than we had in our account. The association had decided that we will not take mortgage for interest consideration. By the mid-1970s, I was convinced that we should have a mosque regardless of what sort of building. With fundraising and connections with the local community, we were able to secure a space by the late 1970s.”
Dr. Rajput notes that he has not held any executive position on the mosque’s board since early 1990’s to allow newcomer Muslims a position on it. He remains a mentor to the younger generation who come and start to settle in Saskatoon and seek both education and spiritual advice from him.
In 1968, Dr. Rajput started the Saskatchewan Movement Disorders Program, which is now widely known as the best program of this type in the world. He founded the Saskatchewan Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, Movement Disorder Group of Canada, and played major role in founding the annual Telemiracle Saskatchewan. He has also served on several national and international committees, including Parkinson’s Disease Working Group of the World Health Organization.
Islamic, Muslim, Islam, Islamic History Month Canada, MCoS, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, Diversity, Racism, Islamphobia, Anti-Racism, Multiculturalism

Dr. Ali Rajput. Photo: March 1983, Saskatchewan Archives.


Over the years, Dr. Rajput has received many major awards including the 2001 Morton Schulman Award from the Parkinson Society Canada for “…humanity and caring for his patients”, Spirit of the Royal University Hospital Award, Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Officer of the Order of Canada, and Best Researcher Award University of Saskatchewan. In 2005 his work was chosen by the Saskatchewan Medical Association as one of the four most significant advances in Medicine in the 100-year history of this Province. He was chosen Physician of the Year and Citizen of the Year.
To this day, Dr. Ali Rajput remains an outstanding research professor and a contributing Muslim to Saskatchewan.
Learn about Islamic History Month in Canada


Related Links

Islamic History Month Canada
Profile 2: The Hattums