Community Life, Intergroup Relations, and Group Maintenance

From: The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Nepalis/

Many Nepali Canadians participate in mainstream-Canadian political, professional, religious, and charitable organizations. For example, there are Nepalis on the boards of national and international charities, and some were active in the last federal election campaign. Nepalis have received national awards and other recognition for their political and social contributions to Canadian society. Because of their small numbers, however, their influence on Canadian regional and national politics is as yet only marginal.

Nepali Canadians are active in various Nepali associations, as well as in some South Asian associations. They established the Association of Nepalis in the Americas, Canada (ANA-Canada) in Toronto in 1984. When the North American ANA held its annual convention in Toronto in 1987, its example stimulated the Nepali-Canadian community to establish its own associations: the Canada-Nepal Friendship Association (CNFA), founded in Ottawa in 1989; the Nepali Association in Quebec (NAQ), established in Montreal in 1992; and the Nepali Association in Canada (NAC), founded in Ontario in 1993. Further, Nepalis have also contributed to common needs and concerns of the broader South Asian community, providing support for a Hindu temple and promoting other community interests.

Nepali Canadians are in frequent contact with their homelands. They are active in supporting various charities and development projects in Nepal, and they have provided technical expertise to their home countries through various international agencies. Together with Nepalis in the United States, Nepali Canadians provided critical support to Nepal through diplomatic pressure and lobbying when there was an economic blockade of landlocked Nepal by India in 1989. In the same year, an ad hoc committee, the Concerned Canadian Friends of Nepal, was set up in Toronto to represent the Nepali point of view in Ottawa during the trade dispute with India. Canadian Nepalis along with Nepalis in the United States were also instrumental in supporting the restoration of democracy in Nepal in 1990. They supplied resources and information to individuals in Nepal during the struggle, and they also arranged for Nepali leaders to be interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. As recent immigrants, they have shown a common desire to contribute towards political and social development in their distant homeland.