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Our Team



John_PriceJohn Price

A historian at the University of Victoria, John Price has worked with Asian Canadian communities in Victoria and Vancouver for the past ten years. He has extensive experience conducting archival work at the Victoria City Archives, BC Archives, Kaatza Station Museum (Lake Cowichan), BC Legislative Library, Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa), British National Archives (Kew Gardens), British Library (London), Jiangmen City Archives, China (江门市档案局), Japan’s Diplomatic Archives (外交資料館), Tokyo. He was the director of the Chinese Canadian Artifacts Project (see and is the author of Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific (UBC Press, 2011). he is ACVI’s project director.


Christine O’Bonsawin

Director of the Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Victoria. Dr. O’Bonsawin is in regular contact with Indigenous students and communities across Vancouver Island. An accomplished scholar in the field of Indigenous peoples in sports, she will examine Asian Canadian and First Nations’ sports history on the Island, an integral part of community life from the 1920s on. Her recent publications include “Indigenous Peoples and Canadian-Hosted Olympic Games,” in Forsyth and Giles (eds.), Aboriginal Peoples and Sport in Canada: Historical Foundations and Contemporary Issues (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013). She provides ongoing assistance in guiding the project in its approach to First Nations history, the protocols of contacting communities, and theoretical questions related to Indigeneity.


E2GM_ILim-xImogene Lim

Previously chair of anthropology at Vancouver Island University, Dr. Lim has extensive experience in community-based research related to Asian Canadians on Vancouver Island. She has conducted comparative research on Chinese in America, as well as extensive fieldwork on Chinatowns in Nanaimo and Cumberland. Her work often crosses ethnic boundaries as with her chapter “Encountering the Past: Family and Community History,” in Phyllis Sense, ed., Shashin: Japanes Canadian Photography to 1942 (Burnaby, BC: Japanese Canadian National Museum, 2005). She is currently working with community activists to restore and protect the Old Hillside Chinese Cemetery in Duncan, Vancouver Island. She sits on the Coal Creek Historical Park Advisory Committee in Cumberland and was a founding member of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC.


Tusa SheaTusa Shea

Receiving her PhD in Art History in 2012, Tusa Shea is currently the Program Coordinator for the Cultural Resource Management Program at the University of Victoria. Her scholarly work includes a focus on culture, gender, and Indignity. (“Fabric of the Nations Art: Appropriation of First Nations Motifs During the interwar Period in British Columbia,” in Birnbaum and Anna Novakov eds. Essays on Women’s Artistic and Cultural Contributions 1919-1939: Expanded Social Roles for the New Woman Following the First World War (Edwin Mellon Press, 2009). She has extensive experience working in partnership with museums staff throughout the project, most recently with the Chinese Canadian Artifacts Project.


Rita Kaur DhamoonRita Kaur Dhamoon

Professor Dhamoon teaches in the political science department at the University of Victoria. Her current research program is grounded in critical race feminism, and includes a book project on Sikhs in Canada and nation-building; research on intersectionality and solidarity politics between people of colour and Indigenous people; and an intersectional analysis of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, with Dr. Olena Hankivsky (SFU). Her publications include Identity/Difference Politics: How Difference is Produced and Why It Matters (UBC Press, 2009). Rita Dhamoon organized commemorative activities related to the 100th anniversary of the Yamagata Maru incident of 1914. (Currently on leave.)




Brian SmallshawBrian Smallshaw

Brian Smallshaw is a graduate student in the Department of History at the University of Victoria with an interest in Asian-Canadian history. He lived for many years in Japan and other countries in Asia prior to moving to Saltspring Island in British Columbia. His current studies centre on the dispossession of Japanese Canadian land on Saltspring Island during the Second World War.



Macayla YanMacayla Yan

Macayla Yan humbly acknowledges the unceded territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples, on which her family and the work she does resides. She is a third generation trespasser of the stolen lands, and recognizes the inherent violence in this. Her family immigrated here from 香港, and before that came from 中山 and 台山. Macayla currently studies Psychology and Indigenous Studies at the University of Victoria, with the hopes of becoming a counsellor. As someone whose family is very much a part of Victoria’s Chinatown, she is excited to be part of the ACVI Project to explore, illuminate, and uphold the relationships between Asian and Indigenous communities on the south island. Outside academics, Macayla’s other passions include baking, community organizing, food sharing, listening to stories, and anti-oppression.


Processed with VSCOcam with b5 presetJeff Tanaka

Jeff (Sho) is a yonsei writer and wanderer. He believes that through sharing food and story we can work to heal legacies of violence + trauma that have accumulated over generations within our collective body, mind and spirit. Currently Sho is settled on Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ Territory but his ancestral homeland (in one sense at least) lies somewhere in the depths of the united states of amerika. Sho is committed to finding ways to complicate Japanese Nikkei culture in order to uplift the wisdom of his people’s indigenous Uchinanchu ancestry. He believes that opening up space for diverse expressions of gender and sexuality is crucial to the work of reclaiming our histories + our futures. Sho tries to avoid the drama of everyday life through intentional meditations with his favorite new tunes and a steady flow of good tea + chocolate.


Connie GrahamConnie Graham

Connie Graham is a Research Assistant on the ACVI project. She recently graduated from Vancouver Island University with a BA in Anthropology and First Nations Studies. Previously, she did research for the Cumberland Museum and Archives that contributed to the development of a permanent exhibit on the history of the Canadian Collieries Railway as part of an internship through VIU’s Department of Anthropology. Through that same internship she provided research to the Village of Cumberland on the local Chinatown, to be used for improvements to the interpretive signage in Coal Creek Historic Park. Graham has a strong preference for community-based applied research projects. Her research interests include culture contact between non-European settlers and Indigenous groups, Indigenous self-determination, heritage language reclamation, ethnomusicology, and food sovereignty.


owenOwen Mar

Owen Mar is a research assistant working on the the ACVI project. He is a second year University of Victoria student who currently is working on obtaining an undergraduate degree in Sociology with a minor in History. Owen’s primary interest in the project is aiding in giving voices to those who traditionally have been ostracized or overlooked by mainstream history. His interest in Asian/Indigenous Canadian history came from listening to the stories his grandfather, a third generation Chinese Canadian, told him about the racism and discrimination which he, his ancestors and his Indigenous neighbors faced in Canada during the 1850s to present day. Through the work done at ACVI, Owen hopes to be able to help uncover the stories of those who have been discriminated against in the hope of creating a more complete understanding of Canadian history for current and future generations of Canadians. Owen believes that a large part of preventing racism and discrimination lies in understanding the history of those around us. Outside of academia, Owen’s interests include peace education, climbing, cycling and working on cars.


Tad Suzuki and Faith Takishita

Tad Suzuki and Faith Takishita are librarians at UVic and VIC respectively. They have been creating a dynamic bibliography as part of the research project.