Nepalese Janajati Association Canada (NJAC)
An estimated fifty thousand people of Nepalese descent are believed to be currently living in Canada. Majority of the Nepalese immigrants arrived in Canada in the decades of 1990s and in the 2000s and are thus full of young families. Besides, Nepalese speaking people from Bhutan, Tibet, India, etc. are also found in Canada and these communities interact among each other because of the similarities in language and culture.
Home to many indigenous peoples, Nepal boasts a rich cultural diversity, which is reflected in the people of Nepalese origin living in Canada. In the process of settling down in Canada, the people of Nepalese origin have established various ethno-cultural Nepalese. Established in 2009, the Nepalese Janajati Association Canada (NJAC) is anumbrellaorganization of various Nepalese indigenous community-based Nepalese, communities, groups and individuals primarily working in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) but also collaborating with other Nepalese associations across Canada.
Fully harmonized and thriving indigenous communities of Nepalese Canadians celebrating their glorious history, including their diverse linguistic and cultural heritage, within the framework of Canadian multiculturalism.
To facilitate integration of the diaspora indigenous Nepalese Canadians into the Canadian mainstream, while promoting and preserving their diverse languages and rich cultural heritage through an enabling environment in which the communities can flourish through vibrant networking and experience sharing among each other and with the First Nations communities in Canada.
The objectives of the Nepalese Janajati Association Canada (NJAC) are:
- To foster closer relation, cooperation, and friendship among the indigenous people of Nepalese origin living in Canada.
- To foster interactions and exchanges of information and experiences among the community-based Nepalese that are affiliated with NJAC.
- To promote the Nepalese indigenous arts and cultures by organising social gatherings and public events during the indigenous festive seasons.
- To help integrate new immigrants from Nepal with the multicultural fabric of Canada.
- To provide charitable support in the form of food, shelter, clothes or cash and other essentials of life to the seniors, helpless and vulnerable people in Canada, Nepal and worldwide.
- To strengthen the network of the indigenous communities in Canada and globally with a view to promote and protect the indigenous art and culture.
- To show solidarity with Nepalese indigenous communities and globally.
- To organize national/regional/global conventions with a view to accomplish the objectives of NJAC.
- To organize sports, cultural and other events led by women, youth and children.
NJAC’s 2021-2024 Strategic Directions
- Facilitating exchanges and cooperation between and among member organizations: On October 31, 2021, NJAC organized a one-day workshop in which fourteen member Nepalesewere present. Participants made presentations on their recent activities. They also shared their future plans and event calendars and brainstormed about areas of collaboration and mutual support. NJAC will strive to host such workshops at least once a year. Such interaction programs/workshops may bridge gaps between community Nepalese and explore new avenues of collaborations and help grow together.
- Encouraging members to celebrate traditional festivals: NJAC will continue to encourage and support member Nepalese to observe unique festivals of different indigenous communities such as Lhosar (of Tamus, Sherpa, Tamang communities), Udhauli-Ubhauli (Kirat communities), Maghe Sakranti (of Tharu and Magar communities), Mha-puja (of Newar community).
- Inviting academics and professionals to speak about indigenous issues: Previous speakers included Dr. Mahendra Lawoti (Professor in the Department of Political Science at Western Michigan University); Dr. Om Gurung (Professor of anthropology at Tribhuvan University of Nepal); Dr. Jose Zarate (Adjunct Professor at the university of northern British Columbia); Keith McCrady (two-spirit First Nations community in Toronto), Monica Mckay (Director of Aboriginal Initiatives, Ryerson University); Rev. Professor Naresh Man Bajracharya (Vice-Chancellor of Lumbini Buddhist University, Nepal); Dr. Mahabir Pun (Chair of National Innovation Center, Nepal). Interaction events with such guest speakers help raise awareness about indigenous issues among community members in Canada regardless of their cultural and ethnic affiliations. NJAC will continue to invite such guest speakers and organize interaction events in collaboration with its member organizations.
- Providing humanitarian assistance: NJAC organized fundraising events to support humanitarian causes in Nepal such as in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake, various recurring massive flood disasters, and other disasters such as due to fire. NJAC contributed to the efforts to support efforts to assist Nepal during the COVID-19 pandemic. NJAC raised funds and offered financial support to the National Innovation Center in Nepal. In the past, NJAC raised funds and handed over to the Canadian NGOs providing humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of the Tsunami crisis in Japan (2010) and the massive earthquake in Haiti (2010). NJAC will continue to host fundraising events in support of the humanitarian efforts in Nepal and elsewhere in the world.
- Encouraging women’s leadership: With two of the vice-presidents and a treasurer being women, NJAC’s current board enjoys women’s active leadership. Women play key roles in the member organizations too, especially around ethnic food preparations, traditional fashion shows, singing and dancing. They also mobilize children to participate in the cultural events. NJAC’s women wing (mother’s group known as “Ama Samuha” in Nepalese) did a food drive event to support a local women’s shelter. NJAC will continue to ensure we have not only active participation of women members, but also their involvement in the decision-making levels.
- Encouraging youth leadership: NJAC youth wing has been taking active leadership roles to organize “Nepal Cup” annual soccer tournament that has been very popular among youth in the Nepalese, Tibetan and Bhutanese communities in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. This event has been discontinued due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The youth wing also organized sports teams to compete in national level events within the Nepalese Canadian community in Canada. They have been organizing sports training events for fellow youth members and children. NJAC intends to revive these activities by mobilizing the youth when things become normal in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. NJAC will also focus on youth’s interest that can help them engage and get involved in community activities.
- Continuing celebration of World Indigenous People’s Day celebration: Since 2019, NJAC has been continuously celebrating the World Indigenous Day event by bringing together the affiliated members, other Nepalese community associations and some First Nations communities in Canada. This event celebrates the commonalities that exist among the indigenous peoples all over Canada and promotes solidarity and collaboration. NJAC will continue to organize the event annually by involving stakeholders that are beyond the indigenous circles.
Service Location: As stated above, NJAC’s activities are focused in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario. However, the organization partners with various Nepalese community-based associations across Canada and the First Nations communities in Canada.
NJAC was registered in 2009 with Corporation Ontario as a not-for-profit organization (Ontario Corporation Number: 1785253). NJAC hosts annual general meetings that review its by-laws and policies. The General Secretary’s report on program activities as well as the Treasurer’s report on financial matters are presented, discussed and adopted by the annual general meetings.
NJAC’s board of directors are made up of the representatives from the affiliated community-based organizations (see the list of the affiliated members below) and other individuals actively involved in the community affairs. NJAC is in the process of extending the board’s tenure from a two-year term to a three-year term based on the result of the latest workshop among its members.
The board of directors nominates an executive committee to run the day-to-day affairs of the organization. However, NJAC is fully run by volunteers and there are no paid employees of the organization. Elders play critical role in guiding the executive committee as advisors.
Affiliated community-based associations:
- Canadian Newa Guthi
- Magar Sangh Canada
- Sherpa Kyiduk Association Canada
- Hyalmu Society of Canada
- Tamang Society of Canada
- Tamu Dhee Canada
- Kirat Society of Canada
- Kirat Yakthum Chumlung Toronto, Canada
- Tharu Community of Canada
- Bhotia Community of Canada
- Sunuwar Community of Canada
- Yakkha Community of Canada
- Thakali Community of Canada
- Majhi Community of Canada
Executive Committee: 2019 – 2022
- Bir Kaji Gurung – President
- Yam Gurung – Vice President
- Rashmi Thapa – Vice President
- Aisworya Rai – Vice President
- Goba Rai – General Secretary
- Sitaram Tenyung – Secretary
- Sobha Gurung – Treasurer
- Deepesh Majhee – Joint Treasurer
- Ananda Argeja – Member
- Ang Chhiring Sherpa – Member
- Kamal Tamang – Member
- Naresh Tamrakar – Member
- Kesang L. Hyolmo – Member
NJAC has 43 individual life members as of December 2021.
Focal point: Bir Kaji Gurung (email@example.com)
9 Santamonica Blvd, Scarborough, ON, M1L 4H3
Contact Number: 647 975 1971