UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The Sikhs of Vancouver : a case study in minority-host relations Campbell, Michael Graeme


This thesis is concerned with the relationship between the Sikhs of Vancouver and the host society. Although the political, cultural and economic aspects of the relationship are examined, the emphasis is on their political interaction. This study contends that the Sikhs were isolated from the host society until 1972, when a substantial increase in East Indian immigrants forced a change in the Sikhs' relationship with the host society by necessitating an end to the Sikhs' isolation. The working hypothesis of this-thesis focuses on the effects of government sponsored institutions versus ethnic institutions on the host-minority relationship. The principal data for this thesis were gathered from three main sources, (1) government publications concerned with immigration, (2) a questionnaire administered to members of the East I Indian community who were selected randomly from the pages of The Telephone Directory of the East Indian Community and (3) interviews conducted with eighteen leaders of the Sikh community and six officials of Vancouver's municipal government. The principal findings of this thesis indicate that the politics of both the ethnic community and the host society's policies relating to immigrants have a direct impact on minority-host relations. Interviews with Sikh leaders reveal that there is a deep division within the community which greatly influences their ability to effect cohesive action in the host society. On the other hand, the policies of the federal government do little to encourage the harmonious interaction of the minorities and the majority in Canada. However, as a direct result of the increasing numbers of racial incidents in South Vancouver, the municipal government has established a number of programs that are designed to encourage concordant social and cultural interaction between East Indians and the host society. Sikh leaders and municipal politicians agree that these programs have contributed a great deal in easing the tensions between the Sikhs and the host society. It is the conclusion of this thesis that if harmonious relations are to exist between Canada's minorities such as the Sikhs, and majority, then both the ethnic community and federal and municipal governments must take an active role in encouraging their positive interaction.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.