"My Canadian identity is complicated. Like many immigrants, my family came to Canada to escape the consequences of colonialism. My father grew up in Bangladesh, during a period of instability and intense violence that culminated in the Bangladesh Liberation War. The war cost my father’s family everything. By the end of it, he was living in a refugee camp. My mother’s family immigrated to Revelstoke, BC in the 1970s for better economic and social opportunities that were limited to them due to Indian class systems influenced by British colonization. Their experience as one of the few families of colour in that small town was not easy, but they persevered.
My father ended up leaving Bangladesh to come to Canada for graduate studies. He met my mother in Calgary, where he was doing his master's degree, and they married. We moved around the country for his academic career. We lived in Toronto, Waterloo, Peterborough, Montreal, and Victoria, where my parents have built a wonderful life together.
Experiencing Canada from these diverse vantage points showed me different ways of being "Canadian". I am grateful to live in Canada, but I know that as much of our Canadian story is, in part, about escaping the consequences of colonialism in South Asia, we participate in a new system of colonialism here that still greatly impacts Indigenous peoples.