Cambodian Refugees in Ontario
Resettlement, Religion, and Identity
The communist Khmer Rouge party of Cambodia was officially in power from 1975 to 1979. During that time, the regime killed and displaced large numbers of its citizens and after its overthrow by Vietnamese communists, many survivors fled, to become refugees. Cambodian Refugees in Ontario examines three generations of Cambodian refugees: adult survivors of the Khmer Rouge, the children and older youth who accompanied them, and the children born and raised in Ontario, Canada.
Janet McLellan uses ten years of ethnographic fieldwork, including extensive interviews, to highlight the difficulties Cambodians have faced in Canada. Lack of appropriate resettlement services combined with high levels of illiteracy, post-traumatic stress, single-parent households, and little urban experience or employment skills have made it difficult for Cambodian immigrants to rebuild their lives. Nevertheless, McLellan finds that the Canadian-born children of Cambodian refugees are achieving greater levels of educational and professional mobility while accessing fluid cultural identities reflecting both Canadian and transnational contexts.close this panel