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Signs of Agency in Refugee Narratives

When people live through extreme circumstances, such as war, they face forces beyond their control. But they also make choices. In this blog, I share insights on individual agency, or the power “to change or affect events or to make choices that influence the course of history.”[1] It is important to talk about agency because of an unfounded perception that refugees have no decision-making power over the circumstances of their lives.

My Last Ten Years as an Immigrant to Canada and Working at an Immigration Museum

At the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, we collect and tell the stories of immigrants who came to Canada and continue to come to Canada to make a new home for themselves.

Some of these stories are used in the permanent exhibitions, online and in current and future travelling exhibits. Most recently, we hosted our travelling exhibit called Canada: Day 1.

Eminently Suitable for Our Purposes: Official Commemoration of Immigrant Arrivals in Canada, 1949-1972

During the early postwar period, Canadian officials attempted to commemorate immigration milestones. These official commemorations were in response to postwar immigration policies that had opened Canada’s doors to tens of thousands of European immigrants including Displaced Persons (DPs) and political refugees in an attempt to fill a shortage of labour in Canada, and to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Europe.