An Endangered Culture: the Movie

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A short film by Tashi Wangyal.

Cultural values form the founding principles of one’s life. By preserving a culture, one keeps their traditions, family values, sociological standards and language intact. Without a culture, no one knows what the traditions are and where the family came from, nor could they appreciate the family history and struggles made. That is usually seen in about the fourth generation in any ethnic state.

In 1971, the government of Canada had sponsored a group of Tibetan refugees from India to immigrate to Canada. They were young and innocent and had lived their lives in poverty. These young families were grateful and felt very fortunate to be able to immigrate to Canada and raise their families. Over the years, they have worked hard to preserve their traditional values and have managed to retain their language, traditional festivities, costumes, food and most importantly, the cultural values to which they adhere, to bind them together. They strongly believe that if they don’t speak out for their culture and traditions, they are doing injustices to their children.

They have always felt very strongly that the culture in fact is a link between people and their value systems and is a common bond that ties the people of community and country together. And they believed that Tibetans should celebrate who they are and must feel proud of ones identity despite their political status.

After nearly forty years in Canada, these people have now grown old, few passed away and the rest are making their final turn of their lives. Today, many of their children have become parents of their own and had inherited a quite a few of those cultural values through constant reminders by their traditional parents. However, they are still facing a big challenge in raising their children and trying to impart the same traditional values that they have learned through their parent’s.

Tibet still remains a mystical place for many people across the globe. But in recent years, the intriguing culture of this historic nation is found rapidly dwindling in the Exile Tibetan communities and more especially in the West. This film provides a glimpse of the Montreal Tibetan community and their challenges in retaining the original values of the ancient culture and tradition.

Namsto Chhoyang who escaped Tibet in 1959 is a senior member of the Montreal Tibetan community. She immigrated to Canada in 1971 under the Canadian refugee program. She shares some of her personal experiences of lifelong endeavor to preserve her native culture and tradition.

Kalsang Dolma, born in India but raised in Montreal unravels her special journey in maintaining the best of both Cultures – the contemporary culture of the west and her native Tibetan culture.

Topjor Tsultrim representing the youngest generation of Tibetans born in the west gives his innocent yet powerful personal views on why it’s so valuable to uphold your native culture and tradition despite place of residence.

Finally the Dalai Lama delivers his profound view on why the Tibetan Culture is unique and important to the international community.


Screening at the Amérasia Film Festival, Montréal: 6 pm, March 11, 2012. ONF theatre at the corner of St. Denis and de Maisonnneuve St.

Festival link

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