• A Call for Justice - Fighting for Japanese Canadian Redress

A Call for Justice - Fighting for Japanese Canadian Redress

The Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre (NNMCC)

March - June 2016

Gallery 2 is pleased to be presenting a new travelling exhibit from The Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre (NNMCC), A Call for Justice – Fighting for Japanese Canadian Redress (1977-1988) inspired by the 25th Anniversary of the signing of the Redress agreement.  A Call for Justice examines the hard work and perseverance of a dedicated group of community members who, for over 10 years, strategized, argued and debated with the government, while fighting criticism from the press and from their own community. This powerful story is told using historic photographs, artifacts, poetry, personal statements, art and video.

In 1942, after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, the Government of Canada considered people of Japanese descent to be a threat to the country. Under the War Measures Act, over 22,000 Japanese Canadians were banned from the BC Coast, sent to internment or work camps in central BC, Alberta or Manitoba, lost all their property and belongings, and were later dispersed across Canada. Grand Forks is situated between two such internment camp sites, one in Greenwood and another in Christina Lake.

The National Association of Japanese Canadians, led by Art Miki, worked with community members, media, multicultural and human rights coalitions, two governments and five ministers of multiculturalism before achieving success. On September 22, 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney acknowledged in the Parliament of Canada the past injustices towards Japanese Canadians from 1942-1949. This was the first settlement of its kind in Canada and led the way for future government apologies. The Redress settlement included:

    • an acknowledgment of the injustice of the wartime events
    • individual payments of $21,000 to eligible Canadians
    • establishment of a community fund of $12 million
    • clearing of criminal records for those charged under the War Measures Act
    • restoration of Canadian citizenship to those exiled to Japan
    • the creation of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, which was established in 1997

We never really sought what’s called an apology – we were always seeking an acknowledgement. It’s more a type of responsibility, accountability… By seeking redress, we were actually strengthening the democratic system. – Roy Miki, 2012

A Call for Justice will be open at gallery 2 from March to June, 2016

The Grand Forks Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada for this project.