Janice Buick. (Photo submitted)

Okangan champion preserves Japanese heritage

Upon learning about her parent’s internment, Janice Buick has made it her goal to share her knowledge of Japanese heritage with future generations

Active, energetic and highly organized, Janice (Ouchi) Buick has focused on giving back to her community for so many years without looking for accolades, but she feels incredibly honored and is ‘tickled pink’ to have been nominated as a Community Champion.

For Buick, her foray into volunteering began with her quest to discover and learn more about her own culture. In 1901, her grandfather came to Canada from Japan with his brother and sister and established themselves in Vernon.

“We’ve always been farmers and orchardists and if you ever bought tomatoes or green peppers on Bella Vista Road, you likely bought them from my grandfather, uncle or cousin,” said Buick.

Related: 4th annual Multicultural Community Champions announced

Related: Celebrating our diversity

Buick grew up learning odori (Japanese dance) and eating Japanese food, but had to learn the language and other cultural traditions on her own.

“My parents were interned when they were quite young and they were pushed to fit in. That’s where we lost our culture, our language,” she said. “I think it’s really sad when you lose your culture. I grew up very Canadian – to the point that I didn’t even realize that I was Japanese. I reconnected with the culture when I ran for Queen Silver Star. I wanted to showcase my Japanese heritage through dance and it ignited a real passion in me to keep going.”

Janice has been volunteering with the Vernon Japanese Cultural Society (VJCS) since 2000, serving on the Executive since 2004 and producing the newsletter for 13 years. She has often represented the organization at the Nations Association of Japanese Canadians Representatives and her passion to celebrate people’s cultures and diversity has been stoked through this.

Related: Book offers glimpse into internment camp

“I’ve been very fortunate. I have met many people from the Japanese community right across Canada and heard the stories, especially about internment,” she said. “It’s really hard for people to speak about internment but it was a good way for me to learn and to understand what my parents and grandparents went through.”

Buick sees education as the key to building understanding and has been actively involved, as a professional and as a volunteer, in events that celebrate culture.

Through the Vernon Japanese Cultural Society, she has been an active volunteer sharing about her culture for such events as Keirokai, which honors the older members, or pioneers of the Society, Obon, which is the Buddhist tradition of celebrating ones’ ancestors, and Haru Matsuri, the Spring Festival celebrating Japanese culture.

“Celebrating our differences is really what it’s all about. I truly believe we all have something wonderful to give.”

As a former manager at Allan Brooks Nature Centre, Buick founded the First People’s Celebration and said she is proud of what she helped to create there. She was also an active organizer of the community celebration RespectFest in 2017.

Buick’s passion for building bridges and understanding shines through as she speaks about her involvement in so many community events but she is very humble in being recognized for these accomplishments.

“It brings me to tears to think that someone thought enough to nominate me for this,” she says modestly. “I just do what I do and I don’t worry about any accolades.”

Related: Vernon Champion focuses on moving community forward

Related: Community champion loves giving back

To report a typo, email:
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com
.


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna man speaks up for limb loss awareness after losing leg

Ralph Zaiser is getting used to life as a recent amputee

Okanagan College names new fundraising director

Helen Jackman will join the college as executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation and director of advancement

Kelowna baby store shops for Mamas for Mamas

Baby & Me donated more than $10,000 worth of supplies to the charity

43 Okanagan College students enter studies with help of government

The B.C. Government’s Provincial Tuition Waiver Program allows young students who were in care access education

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

Allegedly intoxicated man arrested after 3 paramedics attacked at Kamloops hospital

Paramedics had transported the man to Royal Inlands Hospital for medical treatment

B.C., Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

Shuswap woman asks that people stop swiping daffodils from memorial bed

Cynthia Bentley honours memory of those lost to cancer by planting 100 daffodils each year

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

Most Read