Diversity Education/Information

 Diversity in Kamloops

Diversity means differences flowing together.

waterstogetherPhoto: Paul Lagace – Exec. Director, Kamloops Immigrant Services

Kamloops Immigrant Services is very proud to play a role in the successful integration of thousands of immigrants into our city since 1982. We offer:

– Settlement and Integration services

– English Language Services and classes for Adults

– Community Connections,

– English Language Settlement Assistance Program tutoring

– Child-minding services.


We have welcomed immigrants from:

China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines,

South Asia, Southeast Asia, West Asia,

Latin America, Arab countries, Africa

…with a current immigrant population of over 5,000.*

In addition, the ethnic origins of Kamloopsians include the British Isles, Western, Southern and Northern Europe, Central and South America, and other North American origins.  In Kamloops, almost 7,000 people self-identify as Aboriginal, including First Nations, Metis and Inuit.*

Immigrant Kamloopsians speak German, Ukrainian, Russian, French, Dutch, Hungarian, Italian, Panjabi, French, Cantonese, Japanese, Spanish and Tagalog.* They work in management, business, finance, administration, natural and applied sciences, health, social science, education, government service, art, culture, recreation and sport, sales and service, trades, transport and equipment operators, and manufacturing.*

Over 4,500 immigrant Kamloopsians have a certificate, diploma or post-secondary degree.*  Of these, more than 3,000 have post-secondary qualifications, with over 1,800 who have earned their degrees in Canada:  Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.*  Within Canada, British Columbia has been their choice to pursue post-secondary degrees, with over 1,400 earning a bachelor’s degree, a university certificate above bachelor level, a degree in medicine, a Master’s degree, or a doctorate.*

                   “Every race, every colour, every creed belongs here. 

                    They have a right to be here.  They have value. 

                    We all have purpose.”             – Chief Robert Joseph


*BC Stats for Immigration Partnerships and Initiatives Branch Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, 2006


Please sign up for the online Canadian Newcomer Magazine, https://www.cnmag.ca/ and read

“Promoting Unity in Diversityhttps://www.cnmag.ca/issue-41/412-promoting-unity-in-diversity



Leonard Marchand

(1933-).  QPC and CM,  Marchand is from Kamloops and was the first person of First Nations ethnicity to serve in the federal cabinet and the first Status Indian to serve as a Member of Parliament.


John Freemont Smith

(1850-1934).  Smith was from the Danish West Indies and moved to British Columbia in 1872.  He was the first person of black ancestry to serve as in British Columbia an alderman on the Kamloops City Council (1902-1907) and as Indian Agent for the Kamloops District (1912-23).


Peter Wing

(1914-2007).  North America’s first mayor of Chinese descent, serving three terms as mayor of Kamloops.  He was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1976 and a recipient of the Order of British Columbia in 1990.  When Wing was 20, he became the youngest member of the Kamloops Board of Trade, beginning a lifetime of service to his community.



Diversity means differences flowing together.  We provide awareness and education to the region on multiculturalism issues, promoting the elimination of racism as well as facilitating organizational and institutional change.



Encouraging Diversity Early in Life


 Photo:  https://www.minoritynurse.com/print/89774

by Olga Savoskina, R.N., B.S.N., Minority Nurse Writer


I grew up in Russia and Ukraine among a very uniform population of Caucasians with similar religious beliefs and customs, but my little boy, Nikolai, has a different path in front of him. He is 50% Russian and 50% Kenyan, part of this society that has provided freedom and shelter to many nations from all over the world. I want to enable him to appreciate and navigate this environment in the spirit of inclusion. How can I make him proud about our family traditions and respect people different from him?

It all starts very early when an infant looks at picture books with different types of ethnicity and diversity. I, as a parent, had a hard time finding diversity in infant books, so I used lots of postcards and magazine cutout pictures. The author, Roger Priddy, uses photos that are very inclusive of different types of people. And the Global Fund for Children also has two books about diversity for children: Global Babies and American Babies.

As the child gets older, he or she can now learn about their specific family culture. Families should be encouraged to read books that describe the traditions and customs of the culture or multiple cultures they represent. For example, in Russia, Santa Claus is called Father Frost. He has a granddaughter, “Snegurochka,” a snowwoman who travels with him delivering presents. During this past Christmas celebration Nikolai asked me, “Where is Santa’s granddaughter?” And the question opened the door for me to explain the ways our family beliefs might be different from those here. There are many books that introduce culture through storytelling or simple explanations. Visit your local library to find books that describe holidays, from Hannukah to Kwanzaa, and different kinds of food, from spaghetti to bee bim bop. You will find toddler books inclusive of all races to books for older children that describe the accomplishments of diverse people. A positive role model’s influence should not be underestimated.

Expose your child to diversity in concerts and public events. Nikolai thoroughly enjoyed Taiko drum performers as well as Spirit of Uganda child performers. What I consider the most valuable experience is admiring other cultures and seeing them at their best, which predisposes one to good attitude towards the new and unknown.

When children get to preschooler age, their favorite questions are often “why?” and “what?” Do not ignore them. Even if the question is uncomfortable, it can be an opportunity to teach them about different types of people in the world. Tell the child you will talk about it later of it is inappropriate at the time, but then be sure to come back to the topic. One day, we were in supermarket and Nikolai saw a man in motorized wheelchair with a head support. He started asserting loudly, “Mommy, what is it? Can I ride that?” I got very embarrassed, thinking he was asking inappropriate questions and drawing unwanted attention to the man, and I tried pulling him away. But by doing so, was I suggesting that a disability is shameful and something not to talk about? The disabled man taught me a lesson I will never forget. He came up to us and explained to my child his disability and why he is using a chair and let him push some buttons. He told me that I need to answer my child’s questions directly. So now Nikolai just confirms in a matter-of-fact way that some have differences in their mobility. This lesson can easily extend to addressing race and ethnicity with your children as well.

The main thing to remember is that children begin like a blank sheet of paper, but we write out on it with our examples and actions as parents from the very beginning. Do not ignore your values or heritage, or those of others, even in the movies. It is not all “Hakuna Matata” (or “no worries” in Kiswahili, the Kenyan national language), when it comes to diversity matters; children look to you for guidance and a foundation for a bright future.


Adapted from:  https://www.minoritynurse.com/print/89774

Source URL:  https://www.minoritynurse.com/cultural-competency/encouraging-diversity



This program is currently funded in part through a Community Gaming Grant and we endeavour to assist with any requests for diversity education.  We enjoyed local support for the International Day to End Racial Discrimination, March 20, 2015.



For References, please go to the Kamloops Education section.


Kamloops Immigrant Services does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external website sources.  Although we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy, currency and reliability of the content, Kamloops Immigrant Services accepts no responsibility in that regard. Kamloops Immigrant Services is not responsible copyright licenses for Images and/or Pictures that are part of externally produced documents which are links on our website. Informational materials are for educational purposes only and are of general value.