July 16, 2017

To be remembered

by Daisydee Bautista  (Published in Pilipino Express July 16-31)

James Andrew Aviso and ANAK
Scholarship recipient Karla Atanacio
Daisydee Bautista and Lakeisha Rae Moreno
at the Elmwood High School convocation

As many Canadians mark 2017 as a milestone since the first Dominion Day, I became curious as to how this anniversary became the most popularly celebrated as a nation. In 1867, the Dominion of Canada consisted of 4 provinces. Unlike today’s 10 provinces and 3 territories, which came to be 18 years ago when Nunavut joined Confederation in 1999. So 150 is not celebrating Canada’s borders.

Indigenous peoples have lived on Canada’s claim of land for thousands of years and treaties with the British date back approximately 300 years. Followed by the centuries and various waves of immigration from Europe, to the global communities and multiculturalism we know today. So 150 is not celebrating Canada’s people.

150 is not acknowledging colonization (although I guess that wouldn’t be celebrated). 150 is not even celebrating independence though, since Canadian sovereignty didn’t happen until the Constitution Act of 1982.

Looking at Canada’s timeline only left me with more questions. What makes some points in history more important than others? Is popular history just dates and names? Is importance only placed on a celebration of firsts? Does importance in history only apply to those few? Does history have to be so select and exclusive? Well… I hope not.

For over a decade, the ANAK Liwayway Scholarship for Leadership Excellence has been awarding high school graduates in an effort to preserve and promote Philippine heritage and support the pursuit of post-secondary studies. As volunteers, we commit to fundraising for these scholarships and each year make the difficult decision of who to award our limited funds.

This year, applicants were asked to conduct oral history interviews that shed light on what pushed and/or pulled their family to Canada. They were asked to write essays from where their Canadian stories begin. History may be past, but history is personal. History is analyzing connected experiences and our history can only be reflected on when captured, when heard. Our collective living history will leave a legacy of ripples that will affect future generations.

This past June, ANAK awarded two scholarship recipients: Lakeisha Rae Moreno (Elmwood High School) and Karla Atanacio (Sisler High School). Each received a $500 scholarship which they will be using towards their post-secondary studies at Red River College and at the University of Winnipeg.

Honourable mentions were also awarded to John Chedrick Aguilar (Maples Collegiate), Rikka Mae Yambao (Miles Macdonell Collegiate), and Caitlin Keesha Badillo (Kelvin High School).

Congratulations to the Class of 2017! We look forward to your legacy.

Source: Library and Archives Canada (www.collectionscanada.gc.ca)

Daisydee Bautista is a long serving volunteer for ANAK and elected Chair of the Education Committee. To learn more about ANAK and how to become a volunteer visit www.anak.ca or email info@anak.ca.