Chinese people arrived on the Western shores of Canada many generations ago. Since then, they have formed unique relations and shared many experiences with this land's indigenous people. Cedar and Bamboo explores those relationships through the lives of four people of Chinese and Aboriginal roots. Set in the stunning land of British Columbia and the bustling multicultural city of Vancouver, their stories reveal the difficult circumstances of aboriginal people and early Chinese immigrants that both led to these unions but also challenged these families to stay as a whole.
At the age of five, elder Judy Joe was taken from Vancouver to her father's village in China, where she was raised by her stepfamily. She fought to reclaim her Canadian identity. When she finally returned to Canadian soil, she found herself only to be like an immigrant in her place of birth.
Musqueam elder Howard Grant, who shares a long heritage of the Musqueam people through his mother and a Chinese heritage through his father, reflects on his experiences with both cultures. Siblings Jordie and Hannah Yow, who grew up in Kamploops and are now in their 20s, relfect on growing up in an absence of information on their cultural backgrounds.
As an extra on the DVD, 1788 provides 10 minutes academic commentary from Harley Wylie of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation and Professors Jean Barman and Henry Yu of the University of British Columbia on the shared histories in British Columbia of these two peoples.
Cedar and Bamboo is a succinct description of the intertwined histories of Aboriginal and Chinese peoples in British Columbia with absorbing portraits of multiracial identity and an excellent scholarly discussion supplement. It's a compelling contribution to understanding B.C. history, multiraciality, alienation and belonging.
- Handel Kashope Wright, Professor
Director – Centre for Culture, Identity & Education, UBC
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Festivals: DOXA, Vancouver Asian Film Festival, New West Multicultural Festival, Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival