When Chetanveer Singh Dhillon started to get more followers on TikTok and other social media, he noticed that younger people were a bit confused why someone who looks like him lives in northwestern B.C.
They didn’t associate the Skeena with Sikh culture.
That’s an oversight though, because as Dhillon explains in a new YouTube video for Sikh Heritage Month, “I was born and raised in Terrace, B.C.”
Dhillon says there has been a thriving local Sikh community in his hometown since at least the 1960s, when many immigrants came here to work in the lumber industry. The very first Sikh temple was built in 1978.
“The community faced difficulties of course in the start and common street fights among skinheads would occur with the Sikh temple windows being attacked,” he explains in a Facebook post. “After more interactions and common ground the communities within Terrace got together and Sikhs have been an integral part of Terrace.”
The community has declined in size in recent years, going from 6.2 percent of the population to only 3.3 percent between 2006 and 2016.
But Dhillon said the Sikh community is still strong with deep historical roots in the community.
And he has this message for anyone who says otherwise: “I would like to tell them we have been here for a long time.”