Vancouver, BC: Japanese Canadian community organizations and individuals have joined together and launched a Facebook page, JC Sites BC, in response to a provincial government call for nominations for historically significant Japanese Canadian places.
Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association (GVJCCA) president Lorene Oikawa says, “We want to ensure as many people as possible hear about the call and are able to submit nominations. That’s why we spoke out about the original deadline date and the requirement to determine ownership of the property. It has been removed & the date changed.”
On July 7, 2016 Heritage BC announced on behalf of British Columbia Ministry of International Trade and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations that nominations of historic places for the Japanese Canadian Historic Places Recognition Project would be accepted until September 9, 2016. A letter signed by individuals and representatives from Japanese Canadian community groups including the GVJCCA, Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall, Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, and the National Association of Japanese Canadians was sent to Heritage BC requesting an extension.
On September 8, 2016, Heritage BC announced an extended deadline to November 30, 2016.
“We are pleased we were heard and we are looking forward to collaborating with Heritage BC for the nomination process, and the next steps which we are hoping will include a rich resource that will teach the stories of Japanese Canadians,” says Laura Saimoto, Alumni Director, Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall.
The Facebook page, JC Sites BC, provides a forum for discussion and sharing information about the nominations process. A document has been set up so people can self-report nominations being made, because the information is not being made available. Oikawa notes that seeing where there are gaps may encourage people to submit nominations and help each other so that important historical sites are not being missed. Oikawa says, “The ownership question on the application form is no longer a requirement thanks to the community speaking up.” Saimoto adds that people can submit more than one nomination and there can be multiple nominations for a historic place. Saimoto says, “Sites can be buildings to entire neighbourhoods. It can also be parks or land where there aren’t any buildings.”
“Japanese Canadians have been in Canada since the 1800’s so the history of Japanese Canadians is the history of BC,” says Oikawa. “Their contributions and the historical injustice of forced displacement and dispossession should not be forgotten, and it should be in the core curriculum. We need to know our history or we repeat the mistakes.”
Laura Saimoto, Vancouver Japanese Language School & and Japanese Hall, Alumni Director
firstname.lastname@example.org (t) 604-351-0788
Lorene Oikawa, Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association, President
email@example.com (t) 604-777-5222