In July 2021, the Canadian government granted funding for a Tamil Community Centre (TCC) in northeast Scarborough in Canada. The funding covered 73% of the $26.3 million to launch the community centre. According to the census in 2016, Canada is the host to the largest diasporic Tamil community. It hosts Tamils from South and East Asia, including Sri Lanka, India, Singapore and Malaysia. However, it is also the country to host the largest Eelam Tamil diaspora.
Based on the conducted survey the demographic needs of communities in northeast Scarborough and southeast Markham are diverse. Among the needs, archive, library and museum (ALM) have scored a high number. ALM are historical and cultural heritage institutions that aim to collect, secure, preserve, inform and disseminate the culture and history of a nation. They are memory institutions that shelter primary and secondary sources for research, evidence, knowledge and information. However, the building of the Tamil Community Centre will become a monument of identity. It would express the biggest dreams of Tamils. Especially Eelam Tamils who have inherited the history of ethnic and cultural genocide as part of their identity. Tamil Community Centre can become a monument of identity not only for Tamil Canadians but for the entire worldwide Tamil Diaspora. On the other hand, ALM would be an unconditional meeting place for the prioritises of the TCC´s programming. Enhance mental health, women’s services, LGBTQ community inclusion and high physical accessibility standards.
ALM at the TCC could be a great arena and a meeting place for internal and external performances of Tamil society in Canada. As external, it could pave the path to build bridges and create spaces to know and express untold stories and counter-narratives of the Tamil community. It could create a platform for dialogue with mainstream society. As internal, it could create an open and free space to meet marginalised groups within the Tamil community.
The plan of meeting the demographic needs of the Tamil society in the perspective of universal design would create hope for the various marginalised groups of Tamil Canadians for inclusion, tolerance, and acceptance.
DiasporA Tamil Archives warmly congratulates and encourages the Tamil Canadians to bring such a dream come true. At this wonderful moment, even if we don´t yet know the policy of the upcoming ALM division at TCC, we humbly put forward a request for consideration.
It is a core characteristic of a diasporic community to have “homeland orientation” and “boundary maintenance”. It is the continuous orientation of a hope to preserve and protect a real or imagined homeland with solidarity. It is continuous maintenance or restoration of the original homeland and to its safety and prosperity. On the other hand, it is essential to protect and preserve the Tamil diasporic identity by documenting and preserving the history and culture of life in the migrated country. We believe that ALM at TCC would take important measures to document and preserve Canadian Tamil diaspora history and culture through participatory archival methods. Hence, due to invasion, war and migration, there is a social need to reconstruct and document Tamil history to prevent further loss and to transmit the knowledge and heritage to future generations.
Amarasingam, A. (2015). Pain, Pride, and Politics. University of Georgia Press.
Tamil Community Centre. (2021). Demographic Needs. Tamil Community Centre. https://www.tamilcentre.ca/en/about/demographic-needs
Safran, W. (1991). Diasporas in Modern Societies: Myths of Homeland and Return. Diaspora, 1(1). https://www.academia.edu/5029348/Diasporas_in_Modern_Societies_Myths_of_Homeland_and_Return
Tamil Guardian. (2021). Canadian government grants $26.3 million for Tamil Community Centre in Toronto. Tamil Guardian. https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/tamil-community-centre-and-hub-tamil-canadian-heritage-and-histories-open-toronto