Century of Struggle and Sucess
The Sikh Canadian Experience

Part VI
Today & Tomorrow

Today as Sikhs celebrate their 100th anniversary in Canada they can look back on the pioneers which came before us and truly be in awe of their great sacrifices and achievements in helping to make Canada 'Our homeland'. If there is one world that can be used to sum up the Sikh immigrant experience in Canada, that word is "persistence". Here were an unwelcomed people facing the greatest of challenges. A people who could have easily been demoralized enough to give up and leave Canada or have their culture and religion totally lost and absorbed in the Canadian mainstream. Instead these pioneers persisted and succeeded in the social, cultural, economic and political fields in which they ventured, allowing today's Sikhs to enjoy the fruits of their sucess.

As a young Canadian Sikh of a new generation I can look back and be inspired by these heroes of yesterday. My personal struggles in growing up in Canada are a pale shadow of those faced by these early pioneers. Today we can look upon the accomplishments of such people as Gurbax Singh Mahli, the first turbaned member of parliament, Sarabjit Singh Marwah Executive Vice-president of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Sikh Metropolitan Toronto police officers and countless others in many different fields. We can also be inspired by the example of tomorrow's leaders, young pioneers like Baltej Singh Dhillon the first turbaned R.C.M.P. officer and Palbinder Kaur Shergill, politician and prominent lawyer. Sikh youth today have an inner strength and pride in being Sikh. As the Sikh people proudly march forward into a new millenium with new challenges we can be filled with the confidence in knowing who we are as a people and where we have come from. Sikhs are only now realizing that being a Sikh and being a Canadian are not two different or conflicting paths. The choice is no longer having to be one of these while giving up the other. Instead today we can all be proud to be Sikh, members of a religion that we love and proud to be Canadians, citizens of a country that we love.