In early 1979, the Government of Canada created the Indochinese Refugee Class for Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian refugees. Between 1975 and 1980 Canada resettled 69,200 of these refugees. By 1991, there were 94, 255 Vietnamese Canadians, 18,620 Cambodian Canadians and 14,840 Laotian Canadians living in Canada.
Hearts of Freedom is a research project that aims to ensure that the settlement experience of South East Asian refugees will be preserved for generations to come and become part of Canada’s historical narrative.
With funding from Heritage Canada, and partnerships with the Pier 21 Canadian Museum of Immigration and the Canadian Museum of History, This project works to preserve this period in history when Canadians and their governments acting together cooperated in the rapid transfer of more than 70,000 refugees from the former Indochina is preserved for generations to come and becomes part of the Canadian historical narrative.
- Preserve the historical memory of the refugees from the countries of the former Indochina;
- Document the experiences of those involved in the refugee settlement process to inform future generations of government and private decision makers;
- Gather cultural and historical materials, contributing to the documentation of the period’s events;
- Foster a network between Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian associations, Carleton University, Menno Simons College at the University of Winnipeg and participating community agencies to further assist in the preservation of the memory of these events;
- Ensure the widespread dissemination of the results of the research to educational institutions in both official languages