The Poppy Belongs to Everyone: During the 1st and 2nd World Wars, the British Army was struggling due to a shortage of soldiers available to serve. As a result, they recruited thousands of Sikh soldiers from Punjab. The enlisted Sikh soldiers travelled from Europe to Singapore and Hong Kong, defending the Union Jack. They provided protection and guarded the Canadian line in the Battle of Ypres in Flanders Fields. In addition to this, the soldiers also fought alongside the Canadian Army in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Thousands of courageous Sikh soldiers, including some of my relatives, lost their lives in combat for the British Army.
During this time of remembrance, it is important to acknowledge all the fallen soldiers who fought for freedom. I take time to remember those who lack recognition for their service. Many Canadian history books do not include the stories of the Sikh soldiers from Punjab. In the future, I hope that authors could rewrite textbooks and historical literature, so that is it more inclusive. This step will allow future generations the opportunity to learn history in a balanced way. The Poppy belongs to many people, including those whose photos and stories do not make it to national media.
~ Gurdeep Pandher
Today is the only day I took a break from my dancing – to wear an orange shirt, to sit, reflect and think of the residential school survivors. Here is in the Yukon, and in other parts of Canada, I met some of the survivors. Their stories still pulsate my heart. Sending all of my love to them, their families and loved ones!
A conversation with Khasha in his native language Southern Tutchone at village Champagne, Yukon, Canada. Khasha learned the language of his ancestors, and now he is a Southern Tutchone teacher in nearby town Haines Junction. He also inspired me to speak in the language of my ancestors, Punjabi.
There was a geographical difference of half a globe, but the ancestors of Khasha and I had the same colonizers and our languages were hurt.
The village Champagne is located in the traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN).
Dancing Bhangra with little humans in the forest! Thanks, the forest school in the Yukon, Rivers to Ridges, for inviting me! After dancing, I told them a story. Kids and I also discussed why inclusion, equality and respecting others are important.
Rivers to Ridges is a forest school in Whitehorse, Yukon. The school designs, supports and delivers outdoor and land-based programs for young people year-round.
Gurdeep Pandher is pleased to announce that the 2019 Bhangra Concert is happening at Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, on Saturday, November 23, 2019, from 7 PM to 9 PM. Immediately after the concert, from 9:30 PM to 11:00 PM, there will be free-style Bhangra dance with DJ Dash in the Arts Centre lobby for the audience to participate and dance along with everyone.
Gurdeep’s videos have, collectively, been watched over fifty million times from various platforms. His work has been published/used by The Governor-General of Canada, Canadian High Commissions, The Prime Minister of Canada, Air Canada, Department of Canadian National Defence, Royal Canadian Navy, RCMP, Department of Canadian Heritage, BBC News, CBC, The Globe and Mail, CTV News, USA Today, SBS Australia, Toronto Star,Twitter Moments Canada, diverse media and community organizations.