History of Asian Heritage Month

NOW a truly North American event, the genesis of Asian Heritage Month can be traced back to the United States in 1977.

Following a resolution introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, the year prior, by Frank Horton, a New York Republican, and Norman Y. Mineta, a California Democrat, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolutionon on October 5, 1978, declaring the first ten days as Pacific/Asian Heritage Week. Twelve years later, on May 7, 1990, President George Bush proclaimed May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. On October 23, 1992 the enacting legislation was signed into law.

IN CANADA, Edmonton's Asian Heritage Month was founded in May 1998 and officially proclaimed by its Mayor, Bill Smith. It became the first ever in Canada to have its event officially recognized by a civic and, later, provincial, government. Three years later, in December 2001, the Senate of Canada passed a motion officially designating May as Asian Heritage Month in Canada.

Since its inception, Edmonton's Asian Heritage Month has continued to lead in the production and presentation of cultural works to new audiences, and the intergenerational exchange of ideas and experiences among leading creators.

The Inaugural showcase in 1998 represented a seminal event, not just for local Asian Canadian artists, but for the Asian Heritage Month festivals across Canada. As the first national event of its kind, it received immediate support from community audiences, as well as recognition in the mainstream media. Award-winning Asian Canadian artists included, Hiromi Goto, Marty Chan, Larissa Lai, Evelyn Lau, Raj Pal ,Sally Ito, Yung Luu, Mieko Ouchi, Joseph Lai, Willie Wong, Kita No Taiko, M.J. Kang, Terry Watada, Sean Gunn, and Kuan Foo.

Edmontonís Asian Heritage Month soon provided the impetus for other cities, including Vancouver and Montreal, to produce regional and national programmes of their own. Edmontonís official Proclamation of Asian Heritage Month as a designated date by its civic and provincial governments, would later influence the participation of Canadaís, other major cities of Halifax, Calgary, (the return of) Toronto, Ottawa, and Winnipeg, in this international event.

In 1999, the" Asian Canadian Excellence (A.C.E.) Awards" were created to pay tribute to distinguished artists the likes of acclaimed author, Kerri Sakamoto, of Toronto.

IN MAY 2005, marked by Alberta's Centennial Year, the ASIAN HERITAGE MONTH SOCIETY OF EDMONTON will undertake the hosting of the annual event.

From 1998 to 2001, Edmonton's Asian Heritage Month was hosted through the (then) Asian Canadian Writer's Workshop Society of Edmonton, and between 2002 and 2004, as a collective of individual artists and groups, reflected by the increasing number of diverse, artistic and cultural disciplines.

| AHM 1998 | AHM 1999 | AHM 2000 | AHM 2001 | AHM 2002 | AHM 2003 | AHM 2004 |
AHM 2005 | AHM 2006 | AHM 2007 | AHM 2008 | AHM 2009 | AHM 2010 | AHM 2011
AHM 2012 |