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Asian Heritage: Educators' Resources

Asian Heritage Month: Introduction

lanternsAsian Heritage Month is celebrated in May throughout Canada. It provides an opportunity for Canadians of all backgrounds to acknowledge the long and rich history of Asian Canadians, the challenges and successes they faced, and their contributions to Canada and the world in the past, the present, and the future.

Manitoba and Canada may be thought of as being unique and rich human and cultural tapestries that are constantly evolving.  Asian Canadians have been an important part of the creation of these tapestries for over 100 years. Asian Heritage Month is an ideal occasion for all to learn and celebrate how Asian Canadians of various languages, religions, cultures, and histories have contributed to the evolution and beauty of these tapestries.

Asian-Pacific Heritage Week was first proclaimed in 1977 in the United States and since 1990, May has been designated as being the Asian-Pacific Heritage Month. Over the past decade in Canada, many Asians have begun to celebrate their heritage particularly during the month of May.
In December 2001, the Senate of Canada adopted a motion proposed by Senator Vivienne Poy to officially designate May as Asian Heritage Month in Canada. In May 2002, the Government of Canada signed an official declaration to designate May as Asian Heritage Month.

Asian Heritage Month: National Celebrations

Canadians are invited to take part in activities and events that provide opportunities to learn about and honour the legacy of Asian Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada a culturally diverse, caring and prosperous nation. The links that follow provide information and resources available from the Federal government.

To download or order a copy of the Canada Asian Heritage Month poster see Asian Heritage Month poster.

Asian Heritage Month in Manitoba

Asian Heritage Logo The Asian Heritage Society (AHS) was formed to organize and collaborate in making Asian Heritage Month in Manitoba a success each year. The Manitoba Asian Heritage Society is comprised of talented and dedicated individuals, and consists of representatives from the Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Indo-Chinese, Korean, and Filipino communities.

AHS sponsors the annual Asian Canadian Festival held at The Forks on the Victoria Day weekend.

For additional information on Asian Heritage Month events in Manitoba, contacts and resources visit the website: Asian Heritage Manitoba

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Asian Heritage Month in Other communities

A rich assortment of information and resources are available from organizations from across Canada. Some examples include are

Resources Related to Asian Heritage Month and Asian studies

Kids in classroomCanadians of Asian origins are a significant and important part of Manitoba’s and Canada’s cultural tapestry.  Many Asian Canadians have deep roots in Canada and can trace their roots to the emergence of Canada as a nation in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Many more have made Canada their home in the last several decades.

Historically, Asian Canadians of many origins have experienced both much success and many challenges in integrating and being accepted. Their struggle against discrimination, and their perseverance and fight for equal rights, are important parts of the story of Asian Canadians.  An equally important part of the Asian Canadian “story” is the many contributions that Asian Canadians and Asian peoples throughout the world have made to Canada and the world.

The sites that follow provide resources that will

  • support schools in planning, or participating in, Asian Heritage Month celebrations and events
  • facilitate outreach with Asian Canadian  organizations in Manitoba and Canada
  • support the implementation of the Manitoba social studies, language arts, and other curricula  and the study of  history of Asian Canadians and their struggle against discrimination and for equal rights
  • assist in the exploration of the diversity of Asian Canadians and their cultures and heritages
  • assist in the exploration of Asian peoples and the various diasporas throughout the world

Canadian Sites

  • The Then and Now part of the National Association of Japanese Canadians website provides a comprehensive overview of the Japanese community in Canada from its early beginnings to the present. This site is an invaluable source of texts and photos about Japanese Canadian history and culture, and is presented in either English or Japanese. See Japanese Canadian Timeline
  • The Virtual Museum of Asian Canadian Cultural Heritage (VMACCH) enables Asian Canadians to share their heritage among themselves and with the rest of Canada. It is a valuable teaching resource for schools on Asian heritage and culture. The website is the result of collaboration with various partners, such as the Social Service Network, and the Chinese Canadian Photographic Society of Toronto, and mainstream museums such as the Gardiner Museum and the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.  See Virtual Museum of Asian Canadian Cultural Heritage (VMACCH)
  • The Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) theme for Asian Heritage month 2011 is Asian Fusion.  The TDSB provides a variety of Asian heritage resources. These include the 2003 Asian Heritage Resources and Activities for the K - 8 Classroom and Asian Heritage Resource Guide. For information and links to TDSB resources see Asian Heritage Month: May 2011
  • Toronto Association for Learning and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia (ALPHA) is dedicated to provide scientific and organized educational resources of WWII history in Asia to Canadian educators with the goal of fostering a critical and analytical understanding of this significant modern Asian history among students and learners of all academic levels, Canada ALPHA Educational Fund (CAEF) was established in 2006 as a not-for-profit corporation.  The organization sponsors conferences and offers a number of educational Educator Resources. See Canada ALPHA Educational Fund
  • The Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society is integrated within the Chinese Museum at the Chinese Cultural Centre complex in Vancouver's Chinatown.  The Chinese Canadian participation in the World Wars is largely unknown within and outside the Chinese communities yet their contribution changed the social landscape of Canada forever. Through their war efforts and the efforts of concerned citizens, the Chinese gained their franchise rights to citizenship and to vote, which finally allowed Chinese Canadians to enjoy the opportunities and rights as any other Canadians.  See
  • The University of Victoria collection contains documents from the fonds of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association held in Uvic Archives. Most items are handwritten in traditional Chinese script with English translations. See Chinese-Canadian Collection (University of Victoria)
  • MemoryBC is a web portal providing access to descriptions of archival materials about British Columbia's past preserved in repositories throughout B.C. MemoryBC: British Columbia Archival Information Network (AABC)
  • Multicultural Canada provides free online access to existing collections about the histories and experiences of Canada’s multi-ethnic groups. Resources on Chinese ethnic group include Chinese Times, Chinese-Canadian Community News, Chung Collection-Chinese Canadian materials, Chinese Benevolent Association and so on. See Multicultural Canada – Collection
  • Asian Canadian a site that offers information on Asian communities throughout Canada

American Sites: K-12 Resources

  • Asia Society: Ask Asia by Asia Society is an exciting, informative on-line source K-12 Asian and Asian American studies. Through the Internet, AskAsia offers easy, 24 hours access to high-quality, classroom-tested resources and cultural information, engaging games and activities, and links to relevant people, places, and institutions.
  • Awesome Library : Awesome Library organizes the Web with 14,000 carefully reviewed resources, including the top 5 percent in education. Language section includes Chinese, Japanese and Korean resources for teachers, for kids, and for teens.
  • Education About Asia -- Association for Asian Studies (AAS): Quarterly publication by the AAS. It is designed to be a tool for K-16 teachers who wish to bring information on Asia to their classrooms. The online site does not cover the actual publication, but has Resource Links and Asia Factoids which are useful to educators.
  • Kids web Japan -- Japan information network : Kids Web Japan is a site that introduces Japan to school children aged between 10 and 14 who live in other countries. There are many photographs and graphics about Japan.
  • Asian Heritage Month Educator resources from the Smithsonian: Smithsonian Education - Asian Pacific American Heritage Teaching Resources
  • Cynthia Leitich Smith, an American award-winning author provides information on young adult literature related to Asian Heritage. See Fusion Stories
  • Columbia University: Asia for Educators Online: Site features classroom materials and teaching guides on Asia for use by faculty and students in world history, culture, geography, art, and literature at the undergraduate and pre-college levels. Search for content by subject area, document type, or time period. AFE Online also features several multimedia and image-based units on various Asia-related topics, as well as maps, timelines, primary source readings, and a searchable database of recommended teaching materials from other publishers. AFE Online is an initiative of the East Asian Curriculum Project and the Project on Asia in the Core Curriculum at Columbia University.
  • University of Illinois AEMS K-12 Teaching Resources: Internet resources for Asia, China, Japan and University of Michigan: Japan Resources and Links- K-12 Resources contains information relevant to teachers who wish to include Japanese content in their curriculum
  • Brown University: Choices for the 21st Century Education Project-A Program of the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies at Brown University
    The site offers curricular resources on public policy issues and professional development programs for high school social studies teachers.
  • Indiana University: Online Resources for K-12 teachers , Teaching East Asian Literature in the High School- The East Asian Studies Center at Indiana University and the National Council of Teachers of English are holding an intensive summer workshop for 11th- and 12th grade high school English teachers interested in incorporating Chinese and Japanese literature into their curriculum. Participants will develop a set of lesson plans and curricular materials for each of the works covered in the workshop, which will then be published in a teaching guide.  
  • University of Texas at Austin: Outreach Asia -- a program of the Center for Asian Studies-Provides support services to educators and community members to foster a better understanding of Asia.
  • Yale University: Programs in International Educational Resources
    The Programs in International Educational Resources (PIER) of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies provide programs, information, services, and resources to educators at the K-12 and college levels, businesses, the media, and the general public to improve the understanding of international issues and critical world regions - Africa, Asia, Latin America, the middle East, and Russia and Eastern Europe.

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