The Politics of Public History in the Fraser Valley, the Tretheweys of Abbotsford, and Legacies of White Supremacy
Keywords:Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, race and racism, South Asians
This research note is based on the experiences of a former Heritage Abbotsford Society Board Member (2018-2021). It critically reflects on the politics of public history, related to ongoing representations of the Trethewey family in the City of Abbotsford, B.C.'s public place names and heritage sites. It argues that public revelations about the association of the family to the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan in the town during the 1920s needs to be better represented and critically reflected upon in representations of local pasts, especially in light of recent movements against institutional racism and for truth and reconciliation. Based in part on one presentation from a panel at BC Studies at the Unviersity of the Fraser Valley in May of 2021, this research note suggests future research is needed to undcover more local histories of white supremacy and racism in the Fraser Valley. Futher work is needed to understand the ways these histories intersect and engage with the past and present politics of doing public-facing historical work in a country increasingly reckoning with its racist pasts.