We, from the 150YC team of authors and educators, highly recommend this resource for teachers. It includes diverse materials including primary documents, poetry, and archival images in a “history of the present” based on a comprehensive, historical account of “British Columbia” with a decolonial lens. Written by a diverse group of authors, it is unapologetic in its naming of white supremacy, genocide, and racism. It is well referenced, and even includes a poem by BCTF member Janisse Browning.

The Enhanced Digital Edition (EDE) includes new materials specifically designed for teaching. These resources help to highlight the stories of resistance to colonialism and white supremacy and emphasize the agency instead of victimhood of BIPOC communities. Moreover, this resource underscores the critical historical role of women in resistance and organizing.

For a how-to on the Enhanced Digital Edition, see our powerpoint presentation by Jessica MacVicar, recorded during the online launch of EDE and video series that took place on July 20, 2020. The EDE guide takes place between 16:20 - 21:30 of the video below.

Chapter One

Glossary: Aboriginal, Aboriginal Title, Indigenous, Colonialism, Pre-emption

Pre-chapter Questions

  1. How is the name ‘British Columbia’ a reflection of racism?
  2. What are some historical sources of conflict between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with regard to land claims brought up in the book?
  3. Are there other examples from the past? What about currently?
  4. How is the Indian Act a source of oppression for Indigenous peoples?
  5. In your opinion, who is considered an activist?
  6. Who are some prominent Indigenous women who contributed as activists?
  7. Who are some non-Indigenous people in the province who demonstrated allyship to Indigenous people in the past and in present times?

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. How did the Doctrine of Discovery contribute to the decimation of Indigenous people in British Columbia?
  2. Why are the Douglas Treaties controversial in their interpretation?
  3. Most of the participants (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) in the early history of colonization in British Columbia were men. Why do you think this was the case?

Post-chapter Questions

  1. How is racism towards Indigenous peoples present in society today?
  2. Why is it difficult to change or eliminate racist ideas?
  3. What are the similarities in the demands being made by Indigenous activists fighting for their rights today, as compared to Indigenous activists in BC’s past? What gains have been made, and what challenges continue to Indigenous peoples?

Further Resources

With the increased inclusion of First Peoples’ content in the changing BC curriculum, there is a need to incorporate unappropriated First Peoples’ perspectives across the curriculum. The First Nations Education Steering Committee and the First Nations Schools Association, in collaboration with teachers and partners, have developed the following Learning First Peoples series of teacher resources to support English Language Arts, Science Social Studies and Mathematics courses.

The UBCIC's Digital Collections offer a variety of research and informational materials, including a research collection for educators.


See the 1911 Statement & Petition to Premier McBride by 96 Chiefs here.

Chapter One
Articles on Indigenous Experience & Resistance

George, Leonard. “Native Spirituality, Past, Present and Future.” BC Studies, no. 89 (Spring 1991). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i89.1397.

Iredale, Jennifer. “Mali Quelqueltalko: The Writings of a Nineteenth-Century Nlaka’pamux Woman.” BC Studies, no. 203 (Autumn 2019). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v203i203.191480.

Jeffries, Theresa M. “Sechelt Women and Self-Government.” BC Studies, no. 89 (Spring 1991). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i89.1388.

Knickerbocker, Madeline Rose, and Sarah Nickel. “Negotiating Sovereignty: Indigenous Perspectives on the Patriation of a Settler Colonial Constitution, 1975-83.” BC Studies, no. 190 (Summer 2016). URL: https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i190.187229.

Marsden, Susan. “Adawx, Spanaxnox, and the Geopolitics of the Tsimshian.” BC Studies, no. 135 (Autumn 2002). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i135.1639.

Neel, David. “Life on the 18th Hole.” BC Studies, no. 89 (Spring 1991). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i89.1394.

Recalma-Clutesi, Kim, Daisy Sewid-Smith, Clan Chief Adam Dick, Nancy J. Turner, and Douglas Deur. “Subsistence and Resistance on the British Columbia Coast: Kingcome Village’s Estuarine Gardens as Contested Space.” BC Studies, no. 179 (Autumn 2013). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i179.184182.

Chapter Two

As you present this Chapter to the students, ask them to think about the challenges that Indigenous peoples, and African and Chinese immigrants face in British Columbia, and throughout Canada.

Glossary: Racism; prejudice, African descent, Chinese, Chinese Canadian

Pre-chapter Questions

  1. What are some current events that reflect racist attitudes and behaviours towards African and Chinese immigrants?
  2. How do government policies in BC and Canada discriminate against some communities? (For example, think about the requirements to work in Canada as an immigrant lawyer).
  3. What was happening around the world in the late 1800s and early 1900s? How did the global political context of this period affect and influence the experiences of racialized immigrants seeking a new home on the pacific coast of North America?

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. Slavery was abolished in Canada through the Imperial Act from the British parliament in 1835, and by 1858 people of African descent were living on Vancouver Island arriving mostly from California and other western states. How did their settlement impact Indigenous communities?
  2. How did the interests of James Douglas help Black people immigrating from the United States while at the same time oppressed the Indigenous peoples who lived on the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia?
  3. What were the implications for Indigenous people when the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia joined in 1866?

Post-chapter Questions

  1. What are some commonalities in the racist experiences of the African and Chinese immigrant families settling in Victoria and Vancouver Island?
  2. How were these experiences similar to those of the Indigenous people who had lived here for millennia?
  3. How were the experiences different amongst these groups of people?
  4. Who were some prominent individuals of Chinese, Black, and Indigenous descent in this time period (1885-1920)?

Further Resources

The British Columbia Black History Awareness Society (BCBHAS) celebrates the achievements of Black people in British Columbia by creating an awareness of the history of Blacks in B.C., stimulating interest in the contributions of persons of African ancestry to B.C. and Canada today, and celebrating historical and current achievements.

Located on Vancouver Island on the west coast of British Columbia, Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada, and one of the oldest in North America. Enter our website to find out about the historical origins, community development, and changing geography of Victoria’s Chinatown.

Chapter Two
Articles on Early Racialized Communities in BC

Ames, Michael M., and Joy Inglis. “Conflict and Change in British Columbia Sikh Family Life.” BC Studies, no. 20 (Winter 1973-1974). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i20.789.

Ayukawa, Michiko Midge. “Good Wives and Wise Mothers: Japanese Picture Brides in Early Twentieth-Century British Columbia.” BC Studies, no. 105-106 (Spring-Summer 1995). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i105/106.979.

Barman, Jean. “Beyond Chinatown: Chinese Men and Indigenous Women in Early British Columbia.” BC Studies, no. 177 (Spring 2013). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i177.183677.

Dunae, Patrick Alexander. “Making the Inscrutable, Scrutable: Race and Space in Victoria's Chinatown, 1891.” BC Studies, no. 169 (Spring 2011). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i169.1740.

Ikebuchi, Shelly Dee. “Marriage, Morals, and Men: Re/defining Victoria’s Chinese Rescue Home.” BC Studies, no. 177 (Spring 2013). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i177.182457.

Ralston, Keith. “Audio Article: John Sullivan Deas: A Black Entrepreneur in British Columbia Salmon Canning.” BC Studies, no. 32 (Winter 1976-1977). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i32.905.

Stanley, Timothy. “Schooling, White Supremacy, and the Formation of a Chinese Merchant Public in British Columbia.” BC Studies, no. 107 (Autumn 1995). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i107.1003.

Woon, Yuen-Fong. “Between South China and British Columbia: Life Trajectories of Chinese Women.” BC Studies, no. 156-157 (Winter-Spring 2007-2008). https://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/article/view/612.

Chapter Three

As you present this chapter, encourage students to the ways in which racism can become embedded in the policies and practices of institutions. Ask students to reflect on strategies of resistance to institutional racism.

Glossary: Ethnicity, Prejudice, Race, Racism, White Supremacy

Pre-chapter Questions

  1. What do you recall or know about the 1871 Terms of Union, signed by British Columbia to join the federation of Canada?
  2. What are your preconceptions about democratic participation? Is democracy the best way to govern? What other forms of governance do you know?
  3. Institutional racism refers to the ways in which institutional policies, practices and patterns of behavior create different outcomes for different racial groups. What are some historic examples of institutional racism? What are some present-day examples of institutional racism?

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. Compare and contrast civil and democratic rights in contemporary versus pre-1960 BC. Who has the right to vote? Who does not? Why do you think that is?
  2. To whom can we attribute the progressive change of First Peoples and Asian Canadians winning the franchise? How did social groups work together in their struggles?
  3. Is the price for gaining the right to vote federally too high for First Nations? What else might have been lost other than the official “Indian status”? How are the losses manifest in contemporary BC and Canada?

Post-chapter Questions

  1. It is often thought that progress is linear, that social mores and political attitudes inevitably become more tolerant or accepting as time goes on. Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?
  2. What are the causes and consequences of British Columbia’s 1872 voting legislation? Consider social, political and economic dimensions.
  3. Most Canadians today would find the 1872 voting legislation appallingly racist. What evidence do the authors present to show that the voting legislation was problematic even by the standards of 1872 Canadian society?
  4. Research one of the BC civil rights activists mentioned in this chapter and write a letter or speech from their perspective.

Further Resources


The Qualification and Registration of Voters Act, 1871, S.B.C. 1872, c. 39, s. 13. See page 4.

Chapter Three
Articles on Civil Rights History

Lee, Carol. “The Road to Enfranchisement: Chinese and Japanese in British Columbia.” BC Studies, no. 30 (Summer 1976). https://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/article/view/883/922.

Lamberton, Ross. “The BC Court of Appeal and Civil Liberties.” BC Studies, no. 162 (Summer 2009). https://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/article/view/276/339.

Pasolli, Lisa. “‘A Proper Independent Spirit’: Working Mothers and the Vancouver City Crèche, 1909-20.” BC Studies, no. 173 (Spring 2012). https://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/article/view/2319/182551.

Chapter Four

As you present this chapter to students, encourage them to consider the ways in which Indigenous and racialized communities foster resilience, solidarity and resistance in White supremacist societies.

Glossary: South Asian, Gurdwara, Ghadar, Intersectionality

Pre-chapter Questions

  1. Do you think British Columbia became a majority White province by coincidence or through deliberate policy choices? Explain your answer.
  2. What is your understanding of immigration? How do you identify with the term “immigrant”? What nuances and tensions exist between “immigrant” and “settler” identities?
  3. For non-Indigenous students, what barriers and obstacles did your family experience when settling in Canada? What privileges did your family have when they first settled in Canada?

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. Drawing on historical and contemporary examples, what is the relationship between government policies and the instituting of racism? What specific examples illustrate that relationship?
  2. The depiction of Indigenous, Black and Asian immigrants as victims of White settler colonial oppression is a common trope in mainstream media and textbooks. What are some clear examples of resistance and solidarity between the various communities? Why is it important to learn about them?
  3. How do various institutions such as government, criminal justice, media, and education work concurrently to produce racial stereotypes and inequities?

Post-chapter Questions

  1. What specific policies were implemented in an effort to create a “White British Columbia”?
  2. What role does art, culture, and community play in building resilience and resisting White supremacy?
  3. What are the changes and continuities between Canada’s past and present treatment of racialized labour?

Further Resources

360 Riot Walk is an interactive walking tour of the 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver. It utilizes 360 video technology to trace the history and route of the mob that attacked the Chinese Canadian and Japanese Canadian communities following the demonstration and parade organized by the Asiatic Exclusion League in Vancouver.

Chapter Four
Articles on Immigration & Labour

Guo, Shibao. “SUCCESS: A Chinese Voluntary Association in Vancouver.” BC Studies, no. 154 (Summer 2007). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i154.646.

Jackson, Peter and Audrey Kobayashi. “Japanese Canadians and the Racialization of Labour in the British Columbia Sawmill Industry.” BC Studies, no. 103 (Autumn 1994). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i103.930.

Johnston, Hugh. :The Komagata Maru and the Ghadr Party: Past and Present Prospects of an Historic Challenge to Canada’s Exclusion of Immigrants from India.” BC Studies, no. 178 (Summer 2013). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i178.183768.

Mar, Lisa Rose. “Beyond Being Others: Chinese Canadians as National History.” BC Studies, no. 156-157 (Winter-Spring 2007-2008). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i156/7.608.

Perry, Jay M. “‘The Present of California May Prove the Likeness of the Future of British Columbia’: Transnational Anti-Chinese Policies Before the Exclusion Era, 1850-1885.” BC Studies, no. 201 (Spring 2019). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i201.189650.

Chapter Five

Glossary: Asian Canadian, Dispossession

Pre-chapter Questions

  1. Did Japanese Canadians face racism before the war?
  2. Why was Order-In-Council PC 1486 so important?
  3. What was the Nisei Mass Evacuation Group?
  4. What was Camp 101 in Angler, Ontario?
  5. What was Order-In-Council PC 469 and why was it important?
  6. Why could Japanese Canadians only return to B.C. in 1949?
  7. What were key elements of the redress agreement of 1988?
  8. Why is the National Association of Japanese Canadians pressing the provincial government for redress?

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. What is the relationship between the war with Japan and the treatment of Japanese Canadians?
  2. What were the respective roles of the federal and provincial government in the treatment of Japanese Canadians?
  3. How did Japanese Canadians resist the injustices?
  4. How do we decide if this was an episode in ethnic cleansing or not?

Post-chapter Questions

  1. How did the treatment of Japanese Canadians differ from that of Canadians of German or Italian heritage?
  2. Why did the treatment of Japanese Canadians differ with the treatment of Japanese Americans?
  3. How do the Japanese Canadian experiences relate to the experiences of First Nations?
  4. What is Islamophobia and how does it relate to the uprooting of Japanese Canadians?

Further Resources

Landscapes of Injustice is a research project headquartered at the Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives at the University of Victoria, with collaborators across Canada. This website is based on the research of the their research.

This website and the accompanying downloadable workbooks are a learning resource on the internment of Japanese Canadians from 1942 to 1949 and the attainment of redress in 1988.

The Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby is a major landmark and resource on Japanese Canadian history. Book a tour, attend a class.

Chapter Five
Articles on Japanese Canadian Dispossession & Internment

Cohn, Werner. “The Persecution of Japanese Canadians and the Political Left in British Columbia, December 1941-March 1942.” BC Studies, no. 68 (Winter 1985/86). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i68.1220.

Ikebuchi, Shelly, and Takara Ketchell. “It Is Food That Calls Us Home: A Multigenerational Auto-Ethnography of Japanese Canadian Food and Culture.” BC Studies, no. 207 (Autumn 2020). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.vi207.192359.

Lemire, Daniel Lachapelle. “Bittersweet Memories: Narratives of Japanese Canadian Children’s Experiences before the Second World War and the Politics of Redress.” BC Studies, no. 192 (Winter 2016-2017). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i192.187920.

Stranger-Ross, Jordan. “Telling a Difficult Past: Kishizo Kimura's Memoir of Entanglement in Racist Policy.” BC Studies, no. 181 (Spring 2014). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i181.184409.

Chapter Six

Glossary: Decolonization, Intersectionality, Systemic Racism, White Privilege

Pre-chapter Questions

  1. How has the Government apologized for wrongdoings of the past? What counts as satisfactory redress, and who gets to decide if redress is sufficient?
  2. What are some ways in which racism can be manifested? (Think of words, actions, policies, etc.). Give examples.
  3. How are we complicit in racism, and how can we contribute to anti-racist movements?

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. Why is white supremacy ideology so difficult to eradicate?
  2. How do racist actions and behaviours empower and/or benefit some people?
  3. How are social movements like ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Idle No More’ furthering efforts against racism?

Post-chapter Questions

  1. What are some ways in which systemic racism is still alive in British Columbia despite the various documents that tried to change this? Think of the Constitution Act of 1982; the Delgamuuk Decision of 1997; the compensation for Japanese-Canadians in 1988, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report of 2015.
  2. How do organizations support racialized people and support them towards equity and fair treatment?
  3. Why is the concept of “revitalization” an important aspect of anti-racist movements? Think about the revitalization of spaces (such as Hogan’s Alley and Chinatown), revitalization of languages (such as Indigenous languages), and revitalization of cultural practices and traditions (such as rites of passage).

Further Resources

Voices into Action is an online curriculum-based educational resource dedicated to providing students with access to information on issues regarding human rights, prejudice, and hatred. Designed by curriculum experts, this program utilizes a wide variety of media to present compelling information on a history of human suffering, stemming from social injustice that is still a growing problem today.

By integrating the study of history, literature, and human behavior with ethical decision making and innovative teaching strategies, our program enables secondary school teachers to promote students’ historical understanding, critical thinking, and social-emotional learning.

The Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network website provides many further tools, readings, videos, and other resources that address racism and hate.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Canadians have been the subject of racist assaults and bigoted taunts. This Guide* sets out your rights and resources when you are the victim of or a witness to racist incidents.

Chapter Six
Articles on Contemporary Forms of Racism & Resistance

Aguiar, Luis, Ann Mckinnon, and Dixon Sookraj. “Repertoires of Racism: Reactions to Jamaicans in the Okanagan Valley.” BC Studies, no. 168 (Winter 2010/11). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i168.1575.

Brown, Helen, and Kelsey Timler. “Work 2 Give: Fostering Collective Citizenship through Artistic and Healing Spaces for Indigenous Inmates and Communities in British Columbia.” BC Studies, no. 202 (Summer 2019). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i202.190439.

Davis, Lynne. “Home or Global Treasure? Understanding Relationships between the Heiltsuk Nation and Environmentalists.” BC Studies, no. 171 (Autumn 2011). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i171.1913.

Fobear, Katherine. “In Order for You to Love Something, You Need to Have Memories”: Exploring Feelings of Being In and Out of Place in Vancouver, BC.” BC Studies, no. 206 (Summer 2020. https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i206.189498.

Low, Margaret, and Karena Shaw. “Indigenous Rights and Environmental Governance: Lessons from the Great Bear Rainforest.” BC Studies, no. 172 (Winter 2011-2012). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i172.2247.

Lyall, Gordon Robert. “‘They smashed it right through our reserve’: The Problem of Settler Consultation for Infrastructure on Chawathil IR4.” BC Studies, no. 207 (Autumn 2020). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.vi207.191820.

Parajulee, Ramjee, Sara Shneiderman, and Ratna K. Shrestha. “Forging Community through Disaster Response: Nepali Canadians and the 2015 Earthquakes.” BC Studies, no. 205 (Spring 2020). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i205.191953.

Pratt, Geraldine. “Between Homes: Displacement and Belonging for Second-Generation Filipino-Canadian Youths.” BC Studies, no. 140 (Winter 2003/04). https://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/article/view/1689/1735.

Timler, Kelsey, and Helen Brown. “The Prison Garden as an Artistic Boundary Object: Fostering Food Sovereignty and Social Citizenship for Indigenous People in British Columbia.” BC Studies, no. 202 (Summer 2019). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i202.190438.

Tobin, Alyssa and Tracy Calogheros. “Hodul’eh-a, A Place of Learning: The Exploration Place, Lheidli T’enneh, and the Rethinking of a Local Museum.” BC Studies, no. 199 (Autumn 2018). URL: https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i199.190243.

Willard, Tania, and Karen Duffek. “Make Yourself (Un)comfortable: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun at the Museum.” BC Studies, no. 198 (Summer 2018). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i199.190288.

More from BC Studies

Special Issues:

O’Bonsawin, Christine and John Price, Eds. BC Studies: (Un)Settling the Islands: Race, Indigneneity, and the Transpacific, no. 204 (Winter 2019/20). https://https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i204.

Yu, Henry, Ed. BC Studies: Refracting Pacific Canada, no. 156/157 (Winter 2007/08). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i156/7.

For Teachers - Colonialism & Racism in Education:

Carleton, Sean. “Colonizing Minds: Public Education, the “Textbook Indian”, and Settler Colonialism in British Columbia, 1920-1970″.” BC Studies, no. 169 (Spring 2011). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i169.422.

Dubensky, Kate and Helen Raptis. “Denying Indigenous Education: Examples from Wei Wai Kum (Campbell River) and We Wei Kai (Cape Mudge).” BC Studies, no. 195 (Autumn 2017). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i195.189256.

Thomson, Gerald. “So Many Clever, Industrious and Frugal Aliens”: Peter Sandiford, Intelligence Testing, and Anti-Asian Sentiment in Vancouver Schools between 1920 and 1939.” BC Studies, no. 197 (Spring 2018). https://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/article/view/189756/186997.

Williams, Lorna. “Ti wa7 szwatenem. What we know: Indigenous knowledge and learning.” BC Studies, no. 200 (Winter 2018/19). https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i200.191456.