Our journey began with the first main wave of Black immigrants who came to Western Canada between 1905 and 1912 in response to government advertisements. However, when they crossed the border, they were not what the government expected.
Hostile reactions erupted with the arrival of the African Americans and, by 1911, the Canadian government passed an order-in-council referring to "any immigrants belonging to the Negro race, which is deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada." That order was not invoked officially, or put into the Immigration Act, but it signifies a powerful indication of the government's desire to prevent any more immigration of Blacks from the United States into Canada. Finally, in the 1960s, immigration restrictions on Blacks were lifted.
Communities came together to establish a sense of belonging and create a vibrant tapestry of cultures. These settlements were formed by individuals who sought a better life and a place to call home. Through their perseverance and determination, they built communities that embraced diversity and valued each member's contributions.
Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots, a non-profit, founded over 10 years ago, continues that work.
In 2018, we completed an oral history project supported by the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
This project documented the historical and contemporary experiences of Black Alberta settlers with a focus on racism, marginalization and discrimination. That research resulted in the award-winning documentary film We Are the Roots.
This project has opened the door to start the conversation regarding a near-invisible group of immigrants who are in their sixth and seventh-generation of Albertans.
The Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots was born out of a deep appreciation for the stories, traditions, and customs that shape our collective identity. We recognize the importance of preserving and sharing these cultural roots, as they are the foundation for our present and future.
At SCMR, our mission is to honour our multicultural community's heritage by providing educational programs, events, and resources that promote understanding, respect, and unity. Through these initiatives, we aim to foster a sense of belonging and empower individuals to embrace their cultural identities.
Education is at the core of our work, as we believe that knowledge is the key to understanding and appreciating different cultures. We offer a wide range of educational programs focused on history, traditions, and the arts. These programs inspire curiosity, promote cultural exchange, and facilitate meaningful connections among community members.
Our commitment to celebrating our community is reflected in our slogan, "Honor, Educate, Celebrate." We honour the diverse backgrounds of our community members, we educate ourselves and others about different cultures, and we come together to celebrate the richness and beauty of our multicultural heritage.
We invite you to join us on this journey of discovery, learning, and celebration.
Whether you are interested in attending our events, participating in our programs, or simply connecting with like-minded individuals, Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots is here to welcome you with open arms.
Together, let us embrace our multicultural roots and build a stronger, more inclusive community.