Anniversaries 07 Receives Social Studies Resource
A gathering of the representatives of three Asian community groups—Chinese, Japanese and South Asian—plus the Musqueam First Nation and the Vancouver Labour Council, who had formed the Anniversaries ’07 Steering Committee, marked the achievement of a major objective of the organizers in commemorating the centennial year of the Vancouver Anti-Asian Riot of 1907. The Vancouver Riot took place in Chinatown and Japantown over a few days beginning on September 7, 1907 but it had gained impetus from an Anti-South Asian Riot in Bellingham, Washington just across the Canada-US border on September 5 which had used violence to run the minority out of town.
The Monday May 31 meeting was held at the Vancouver Japanese Language School, whose first building an arsonist tried to torch during the historic disturbance. JLS president Rika Uto, one of the three co-chairs of the organization, welcomed the group which included the other co-chairs, Henry Yu, a History Professor at UBC, and Bill Saunders, President of the Vancouver and District Labour Council. Other principals were Larry Grant, Elder of the Musqueam Band and Harbhajan Gill, President, Komagata Maru Heritage Foundation—both on the A07 steering committee.
After Elder Grant welcomed everyone to the traditional land of the Musqueam people, Jane Turner, the BC Teachers’ Federation manager of the Resource Project presented to the A07 group the curriculum resource materials which were the most significant outcome for everyone involved. She described the process used to create the lesson plans and materials written and pre-tested by master teachers and utilizing the framework of the Critical Thinking Consortium under Roland Case. The approach in this instance requires students to adopt the identity of one of the five pivotal groups and to try to understand their adopted position as well as the positions of the others. It is quite an exciting approach to teaching and learning history. The project was funded by the Law Foundation of BC and supported by the BC Teachers’ Federation. The resource is available through the Critical Thinking Consortium at www.tc2.ca.