VIVO Media Arts Centre Archive > Lake Cowichan Group
Photo: Rattan Kaur Atwal (left); Prakash Kaur Maan (centre left); Kashmir Kaur Johal (centre right); Daljit Kaur Gill (right).

Lake Cowichan Group

Rattan Kaur Atwal, Prakash Kaur Mann and Kashmir Kaur Johal were all born in India and immigrated to Canada, settling in the Lake Cowichan and Duncan areas on Vancouver Island where they raised their  families. Daljit Kaur Gill was born and raised in Victoria and moved to Lake Cowichan following her marriage. Their husbands worked in the logging industry.

For more biographical info, see the following profiles on the Khalsa Diwan Society website:

Rattan Kaur and her husband, Hardial Singh Atwal (the first Sikh born in Canada) 
Prakash Kaur and husband Santokh Singh Mann

Note: Mrs. Atwal, Mrs. Maan, and Mrs. Johal speak almost exclusively Punjabi in these interviewees. Mrs. Gill speaks English and some Punjabi. VIVO is seeking funding for translation.

Video Interview [c.1980s]

Mrs. Atwal, Mrs Maan, Mrs. Johal talk about immigrating from India and their early years in Canada; Mrs. Gill talks about her experiences as a Canadian-born, raised and educated woman. The women talk about their arranged marriages, their children’s rejection of the same, and about their lives as logger’s wives and living conditions in Lake Cowichan in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

VIVO is seeking funds for translation and transcription.

Title: [Lake Cowichan Group – 1/3]

Creator: Diamond, Sara

Contributors: Johal, Kashmir Kaur; Maan, Prakash Kaur.; Atwal, Rattan Kaur; Gill, Daljit Kaur.

Subject: Women–Employment–British Columbia ; Women labor union members–British Columbia ; Women–Employment–British Columbia–History–20th century

Date Created: [Unknown]

Type: Moving Image

Genre: Interviews

Extent: 1 Betacam videotape

Format: video/mp4

Language: English

Identifier: SD_WLHP_069

Is Part Of: Sara Diamond fonds

Series: Women’s Labour History Project

Source: Original Format: The VIVO Media Arts Centre. Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives. Sara Diamond fonds.

Rights: Videos provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy or otherwise use these videos must be obtained from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives.

Description: Mrs. Atwal, Mrs. Maan, Mrs. Johal and Mrs. Gill talk about managing a working class wage including not being able to afford going to a restaurant, the importance of women raising animals and gardening to feed the family, and taking on menial jobs;  how despite their poverty they all enjoyed those early times; Mrs. Johal tells a story of finding her cow in the house eating her knitting; living in housing owned by the mill companies; their responsibility towards family members including helping those immigrating during their first years in Canada; their experiences working outside the home, including in nursing and as agricultural labourers.

VIVO is seeking funds for translation and transcription.

Title: [Lake Cowichan Group – 2/3]

Creator: Diamond, Sara

Contributors: Johal, Kashmir Kaur; Maan, Prakash Kaur.; Atwal, Rattan Kaur; Gill, Daljit Kaur.

Subject: Women–Employment–British Columbia ; Women labor union members–British Columbia ; Women–Employment–British Columbia–History–20th century

Date Created: [Unknown]

Type: Moving Image

Genre: Interviews

Extent: 1 Betacam videotape

Format: video/mp4

Language: English

Identifier: SD_WLHP_070

Is Part Of: Sara Diamond fonds

Series: Women’s Labour History Project

Source: Original Format: The VIVO Media Arts Centre. Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives. Sara Diamond fonds.

Rights: Videos provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy or otherwise use these videos must be obtained from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives.

Description: Mrs. Atwal, Mrs. Maan, Mrs. Johal and Mrs. Gill talk about the dangers of forestry jobs; criticism of the union for supporting workers charged with working unsafely even if the worker is in the wrong; how the union helped them get holiday pay and retirement pensions; the ways women support the union during  strikes such as feeding people on the line; how women had to be very careful of household budgeting.

VIVO is seeking funds for translation and transcription.

Title: [Lake Cowichan Group – 3/3]

Creator: Diamond, Sara

Contributors: Johal, Kashmir Kaur; Maan, Prakash Kaur.; Atwal, Rattan Kaur; Gill, Daljit Kaur.

Subject: Women–Employment–British Columbia ; Women labor union members–British Columbia ; Women–Employment–British Columbia–History–20th century

Date Created: [Unknown]

Type: Moving Image

Genre: Interviews

Extent: 1 Betacam videotape

Format: video/mp4

Language: English

Identifier: SD_WLHP_071

Is Part Of: Sara Diamond fonds

Series: Women’s Labour History Project

Source: Original Format: The VIVO Media Arts Centre. Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives. Sara Diamond fonds.

Rights: Videos provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy or otherwise use these videos must be obtained from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives.

Photographs

Courtesy of the Johal family. Sara Diamond fonds.