Vol 35 (2015)
Articles (Peer Reviewed)

Memories of Migration: Memory and the Creation of Historical Narrative in the Winnipeg Filipino Community, 1959-2009

Jon G. Malek
University of Western Ontario
Published September 22, 2015


In this article, I examine the relationship between memory and the creation of historical narratives using the museum exhibit From Manila to Manitoba, hosted by the Manitoba Museum in 2010 in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Winnipeg Filipino community. The exhibit, designed and curated by members of a Filipino cultural group based in Winnipeg, had an expressed purpose to deviate from previous community histories by emphasizing the experiences of Filipino youth and more recent waves of immigrants to the city. Through a mix of archival research and oral histories, the curators claimed to have written a history that spoke for the entire community in a grassroots fashion. As I argue, however, the project offered a history that was mediated by the intentions of the curators and written in contrast to existing narratives in the community. This article examines the process of creating this narrative, and analyzes some of the issues in using personal memories via oral histories to create a normative narrative that is meant to represent a community.