Human Rights

How the entire nation of Nauru almost moved to Queensland

Nauru Phosphate

From The Conversation, online publication

By Jane McAdam

“Nauru is best known to most Australians as the remote Pacific island where asylum seekers who arrive by boat are sent. What is less well known is that in the 1960s, the Australian government planned to relocate the entire population of Nauru to an island off the Queensland coast.

The irony of this is striking, especially in light of continuing revelations that highlight the non-suitability of Nauru as a host country for refugees. It also provides a cautionary tale for those considering wholesale population relocation as a “solution” for Pacific island communities threatened by the impacts of climate change…”

Read More Here or Click on the Image Above


How do we deal with the coming waves of climate change refugees?

Cyclones Australia.NASA

From The Conversation, online publication

By Jane McAdam

“On average, one person is displaced each second by a disaster-related hazard. In global terms, that’s about 26 million people a year.

Most move within their own countries, but some are forced across international borders. As climate change continues, more frequent and extreme weather events are expected to put more people in harm’s way.

In the Pacific region alone, this year’s Cyclone Winston was the strongest ever to hit Fiji, destroying whole villages. Last year, Cyclone Pam displaced thousands of people in Vanuatu and Tuvalu – more than 70% of Vanuatu’s population were left seeking shelter in the storm’s immediate aftermath.

However, future human catastrophes are not inevitable. The action – or inaction – of governments today will determine whether we see even greater suffering, or whether people movements can be effectively managed…”

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Alaskeros: Filipino Cannery Workers in Alaska



Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project Links

“Cannery Workers’ and Farm Laborers’ Union 1933-1939: Their Strength and Unity” by Crystal Fresco

The United States took possession of the Philippines in 1898 and in the decades after that, Filipinos, mostly men, began to make their way to America to seek employment, especially in the fields and canneries. In 1933 some of these men formed the first Filipino-led union ever organized in the United States: the Cannery Workers’ and Farm Labors’ Union Local 18257. Based in Seattle, it was organized by “Alaskeros” who worked in the Alaska salmon canneries each summer and in the harvest fields of Washington, Oregon, and California in the other seasons.  The union was in its shaky beginnings when two of its founders were murdered. Yet, although its leaders were dead, the union would not die. Instead in the next few years,  it grew stronger, becoming effective up and down the West Coast.

Filipino American Activism Across Three Generation: Photo and Document Repository

Filipino American Activism Across Three Generations: Oral Histories of Cannery Workers



“Filipino Cannery Workers”

As early as the 1920s, Filipinos from Seattle were contracted to work in Alaskan canneries. These canneries offered summer work for students to pay for their studies. In 1930, more than 4,000 “Alaskeros” worked in the canneries.

Labor unions organized for cannery workers centered many of their activities in Seattle. In 1933, the Cannery Workers and Farm Laborers Union Local 18257 became the first Filipino-dominated cannery workers organization.

Positively Filipino

“The Wards Cove Case: Separate and Unequal” by Cindy Domingo

n 1972, at the age of 16, David Della entered a new stage in his rites of passage. Like his father and six brothers, Della journeyed to Alaska and joined other Filipinos to can salmon in a plant owned by Wards Cove Packing Company. Narciso Della, David’s father, paid $100 to the dispatcher of the cannery workers’ union to get his underaged son one of the prized jobs in the cannery. The job, catching cans, consisted of lining up the cans for the retorts, the machine that cooked the salmon.

Carlos Bulosan Centennial

“The Historical Significance of the Eastern Hotel for Filipinos” by Doug Chin

The Filipino trek to Seattle began in the 1910’s. Many came as migratory laborers from California, Hawaii, and directly from the Philippines to work in the Alaskan canneries and the agricultural fields in eastern Washington as well as the farms in South Park, Renton, Kent, Auburn, and Bellevue.

By the 1920’s, some 3,000 arrived annually to find work. Their destination in Seattle was always the International District, where they could find some solace, familiar faces, and diversion from the laborious journey ahead. The Eastern Hotel was a primary stopping place for Filipino migrants, who filled the building during Spring and Winter, upon their return.


University of Washington Press

“Remembering Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes” by Ron Chew

Remembering Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes examines the lives of two slain cannery union reformers during the tumultuous Civil Rights Era of the 1970s. Author Ron Chew was a close friend of Gene and Silme, and his poignant prologue sets the stage for the story of their political awakening, the events that led to their tragic deaths, and the movement they nurtured. Through memories of family and friends, we learn about the men as second-generation Filipino Americans, as leaders, and as part of a generation striving to make America live up to its democratic ideals.

Arcadia Publishing and the History Press

“Filipinos in the Puget Sound” by By Dorothy Laigo Cordova, Filipino American National Historical Society

Since the 19th century, Filipinos have immigrated to the Puget Sound region, which contains a deep inland sea once surrounded by forests and waters teeming with salmon. Seattle was the closest mainland American port to the Far East. In 1909, the “Igorotte Village” was the most popular venue at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, and the first Filipina war bride arrived. Filipinos laid telephone and telegraph cables from Seattle to Alaska; were seamen, U.S. Navy recruits, students, and cannery workers; and worked in lumber mills, restaurants, or as houseboys. With one Filipina woman to 30 men, most early Filipino families in the Puget Sound were interracial. After World War II , communities grew with the arrival of new war brides, military families, immigrants, and exchange students and workers. Second-generation Pinoys and Pinays began their families. With the 1965 revision of U.S. immigration laws, the Filipino population in Puget Sound cities, towns, and farm areas grew rapidly and changed dramatically—as did all of Puget Sound.


Filipino American Historical Society

Mission: To promote understanding, education, enlightenment, appreciation and enrichment through the identification, gathering, preservation and dissemination of the history and culture of Filipino Americans in the United States.


Filipino American Heritage Guide by 4Culture


Invisible and Unwelcomed People: Chinese Railroad Workers by Zhi Lin

Koplin Del Rio is pleased to debut a new series of work by Zhi Lin, titled Invisible and Unwelcomed People: Chinese Railroad Workers. The exhibition comprises an extensive series of small studies as well as large format drawings executed in Chinese Ink. This provocative body of work is intended to enlighten and document an aspect in American history that has for the most part, been cruelly ignored and forgotten, the brutal treatment that Chinese immigrants endured in building the epic Trans-continental railroad that spans the United States.

Between the years of 2005-2007, Zhi Lin took several research trips following the railroad lines through California and Wyoming as well as attending the annual Golden Spike ceremony in Promontory, Utah several years in a row. Before each trip, the artist researched archives of historical photographs, old maps, aerial photos and sought out oral historical accounts from elderly residents in an attempt to fully immerse himself in that specific time period and carve away at a century and a half of faded memories.

The execution of the ghostly studies are reminiscent of English watercolor masters; Girtin, Constable, Turner, and are intended to conjure up a familiar and nostalgic aesthetic of the same period that tended to glaze over and disguise the injustice and horrors that occurred on the frontiers of the Industrial Revolution in 19th Century America.

Depicted are dilapidated burial sites, graves marked by wooden sticks, a testimony to the thousands of workers who lost their lives in grueling conditions carving their way through cliffs and mountain passes. One drawing, represents the historic site of the Golden Spike location, but instead of illustrating the fanfare that accompanies the annual commemorative festivities, the artist chose to highlight the desolation of an empty section of track that recedes into the horizon, The artist’s notes in the bottom right corner read, “The ground on which Chinese workers were unwelcome. On May 10, 1869, after eight Chinese workers laid down the last rail for the Central Pacific Railway, they, along with 1,500 other Chinese workers who constructed the railway from California to Promontory Summit, Utah were kept away from the celebration of the Golden Spike – the completion of the first Transcontinental railroad.”

(Selected images from website. Please visit to view more)

Site of the Golden Spike CelebrationsAltar in the Joss House5graves

Taking on the Bully: A Weekly Series

Wing Chong Luke lived through bullying as a young Chinese American boy growing up in Seattle. In his own unique way, he dealt a peaceful blow to the bullies tormenting him daily. How? He made them respect him.

Many Asian and Pacific Islander children endure bullying and other forms of violence every day. Not all of them are able to find friends and teachers to stand up for them, and others feel powerless to take on a bully by themselves.

We are dedicating a weekly post on this site for the next year that addresses issues of bullying and violence, actions that students can take to create safe schools, and activities teachers can use to engage students. The museum recognizes that racial discrimination begins when individuals cannot connect as people. From bullying–to other forms of violence and hatred– to societal stereotypes and dehumanization– to policies and practices that overtly treat ethnic groups as second class.

In our Reading and Exploring section we will be continually posting suggested books and activities to challenge your students to explore their own biases, to think through what it means to really be accepting of themselves and others, and to see how children and teen characters persevere in staying true to themselves. Additionally, you will find activities in our Honoring Our Journey (upper grades) and Connecting with Our Histories (elementary) modules.

The Sikh Coalition actively addresses racial and religious bullying and violence directed toward Sikh Americans– on school, school district and national levels. Since the events of 9/11 Sikh children and adults have been targeted repeatedly with racial slurs, violence, and other forms of bigotry. The reports they produce and the stories they capture are quite moving. You may consider viewing some of these videos with your students. The image below links to an eye-opening info graphic. You might consider sharing this with older students. Teachers– This reading is for you and was also produced by the Sikh Coalition: go-home-terrorist.

Sikh Bullying infographic

Belonging: Community Digital Exhibition



dåkot-ta (dakota alcantara-camacho)

Linalai (Chant)

Check out the rest of the online exhibition here

Revisiting Oak Creek, WI


August 5, 2012 the New York Times reported “In an attack that the police said they were treating as “a domestic terrorist-type incident,” the gunman stalked through the temple around 10:30 a.m. Congregants ran for shelter and barricaded themselves in bathrooms and prayer halls, where they made desperate phone calls and sent anguished texts pleading for help as confusion and fear took hold. Witnesses described a scene of chaos and carnage.”

In the days that followed and in the years that have passed, the Sikh community of Oak Creek, WI and their house of worship have been forever changed. Still expressing a love, and a willingness to pray for all people, the temple ( Gurudwara) has surprisingly taken to closed door worship.

Revisiting the story of Oak Creek just days after the horrific murders at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is a powerful way to see the tragic and violent ways racism manifests itself in our society. More importantly one could take note on the similarities in the way congregations and respective communities responded to these violent acts.