Vancouver Chinatown is located on the traditional and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. Before colonial settlement, this area was home to an ancient Squamish site called Luck Luck EE (Grove of Beautiful Trees), named after the maple tree grove that had grown there before being clear cut. This community was displaced by the encroaching industrial and corporate development of the city we now know as Vancouver.

Chinatown became the place where Chinese workers found shelter and safety from discrimination and violence by white settlers and the government. These Chinese workers toiled alongside Indigenous, Japanese, Black, and other working-class people on the railroads, in the sawmills, and in the canneries. The paid and unpaid labour of these workers and their families built the city.

Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside continue to be a place of safety and belonging for not only Chinese working-class people, but also for Indigenous peoples who have been dispossessed of their homelands, for new immigrants, and for other working-class people. Our struggle for social and economic justice in Chinatown is inseparable from the struggle against colonization, racism, dispossession, and displacement everywhere.

We carry forward our shared history of resilience, resistance, and solidarity. We struggle alongside Indigenous peoples, communities of colour, and working-class people across the region for our right to remain in our neighbourhoods without fear of displacement.

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Community Tea Time Agenda, May 2017. Credit: Nat Lowe