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Newcomer finds bows and arrows in multicultural Canada

Canada prides itself on what is described as the Canadian mosaic. Canadians may not have coined the word multicutural, but they certainly put it to good use.


But with people of all ethnicities from all over the world calling Canada home, it makes for some very interesting situations.


Take Indians, for instance.


There are Indians, West Indians and Native Indians. Except that Indians like me, Indians from India, are not called Indians at all, but usually referred to as East Indians or South Asians. And saying one is of Indian origin can cause confusion.


My five-year old son came home from school one day and asked, in all seriousness, where we kept our bows and arrows.


We didn’t have any, I responded.


Nor any guns or pistols, I thought in my head, as I was very against any ‘toys’ that taught violence.


“Then how do we get food?” was the next question.


“What does that mean?” I asked, stopping my vacuuming. “From the grocery, of course.”


Tapas looked puzzled.


“But when I told Jake I was Indian, he asked me to show him my bows and arrows and when I told him we didn’t have any, he asked where we got our food from.”


My husband looked up from his computer, barely able to control his laughter.


“We are not that kind of Indian,” he said. “And even native Canadians – also called Indian – get their food from a grocery now.”


It finally dawned on me that Tapas’s friend had mistaken ‘Indian’ for native Indian.


The next day, I shared the amusing incident with their class teacher.


“Oh, what a lovely learning opportunity,” she said. “I’ll show the children India on the map this afternoon and we’ll talk about where Tapas’s family comes from!”


                                                                                          – Shagorika Easwar

 

What’s your story? Every newcomer, no matter how savvy or where he or she comes from, has a Fresh Off the Plane (FOP) story to share about their early days in Canada.Do you want to share your story? E-mail it to us at canadaboundimmigrant@rogers.com.

Posted: Jul 3, 2013

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