#ImmigrationMatters in Whitehorse, Yukon - Bringing communities and cultures together through Bhangra

Bringing communities and cultures together through Bhangra

August 9, 2022

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Bringing communities and cultures together through Bhangra

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Transcript: “Immigration Matters in Whitehorse, Yukon”

Video length: 3 minutes, 37 seconds

Inspiring piano and strings play throughout.

Aerial view of the snowy Yukon mountains.

Text displays: “Immigration Matters in Whitehorse, Yukon”

Gurdeep smiles at the camera.

Text displays: “Gurdeep Pandher, Bhangra dancer & motivational speaker”

Gurdeep: My name is Gurdeep Pandher. I’ve been dancing Bhangra all my life.

A photo is pinned to the refrigerator door. It displays a group of Bhangra dancers, with Gurdeep posing in the middle.

Gurdeep: Bhangra is the traditional folk dance of Punjab.

Gurdeep walks out of his cabin to his car parked in the driveway. He opens the trunk and takes out snowshoes. He puts his snowshoes on, and then he puts on his mittens.

Gurdeep: I moved to Canada in 2006. Then I decided to do a cross-country road trip.

Gurdeep snowshoes in the forest and admires the nature around him.

Gurdeep: I wanted to know more about smaller communities, remote communities. I was amazed by the Yukon, and I really liked that welcoming spirit of this community, and I was touched by that powerful nature as well.

Another pinned photo displays Gurdeep with a group of friends in the forest in Yukon in the summer.

In an aerial view, we see Gurdeep dancing Bhangra outside his cabin, surrounded by forest.

Gurdeep: I decided to make Yukon my home. Here, in this open land, I could do Bhangra dancing.

Jordan: I moved into a cabin a few years back…

Jordan smiles.

Text displays: “Jordan Lincez, Bagpiper & school teacher”

Jordan: …and I would always just step out to my porch and play the bagpipes every once in a while, you know, with the rising sun, and Gurdeep invited me to do a video one day, and I was surprised at how many hits it got very quickly.

Series of videos in various outdoor settings in Yukon show Gurdeep dancing and Jordan playing the bagpipes.

Gurdeep: The Yukon as a territory is dependent on tourism.

Aerial view of downtown Whitehorse and the S.S. Klondike ship.

A woman walks down the street and she meets Gurdeep. They greet each other and hug.

Gurdeep: Many times I heard from people who came to visit the Yukon that they decided to come after watching my videos. So it makes me really happy and I feel humbled by it.

A series of videos show Gurdeep dancing Bhangra in front of the beautiful Yukon landscape, during both the summer and winter.

A series of videos show Gurdeep dancing with a group of children, outside in the forest, in a school gym and in a classroom.

Jordan: He made a point of visiting every community in the Yukon. And so every school has students that have danced with him, you know, and I think that's the impression he leaves on kids is: Let's have fun and it's okay to be celebrated for who you are.

Jordan and his daughter dance Bhangra together in the snow. Jordan and Gurdeep hug.

Natasha: Kyle first met Gurdeep through his attendance at summer camps, and Gurdeep came and taught them about just dancing and joy and being in the forest.

Natasha smiles.

Text displays: “Natasha Phillips, Kyle’s mother”

A video displays kids following along to Gurdeep dancing in the forest in Yukon in the summer.

Natasha: And, after that he said, “Mom, I want to have Gurdeep at my birthday party this year”. Of course, Gurdeep said “Yes”.

Kyle and Gurdeep pose together for a picture.

Natasha: He showed up, it was -22, and it was windy and chilly, and he just brings so much excitement. Kyle, at the end, said that it was probably his most fun birthday party he's ever had.

Children run in the snow and then they dance Bhangra with Gurdeep.

Natasha: Gurdeep is sort of a local celebrity that the kids really look to and connect to, and I think after the last 2 years, it has been a real gift to have just the joy of life that he brings to our community and to individual people overall.

Gurdeep poses for a group picture with parents and their children. Kyle gives Gurdeep a big hug.

The scene fades to black.

Ciara sits with Gurdeep at a local coffee shop. They talk over tea.

Text displays: “Ciara Fragomeno, Irish dancer”

Ciara: My first impression of Gurdeep was such a joy and a breath of fresh air. We talked a lot about how Bhangra and different Irish dances are those moments to celebrate, so why not bring them together?

A video displays Gurdeep dancing Bhangra while Ciara does Irish dancing alongside him.

Ciara: I think it's important to recognize that movement and music gives people an opportunity to explore joy in new ways. It gives everyone an opportunity to see the world through a new lens.

A series of videos display Gurdeep dancing Bhangra in various areas across Yukon.

Gurdeep, Ciara and Jordan dance Bhangra and Irish dance in front of a green screen. On a computer screen, we see the green screen transformed into a Saint Patrick’s Day–themed background.

Ciara: I think Gurdeep has done such a great job in providing different kinds of media that promote joy that really brings out the best in everyone.

A framed piece of embroidery and a painting of Gurdeep hang on his wall at home.

Gurdeep: Joy is not just entertainment, it's healing.

Gurdeep shows us some of the mail he has received from fans.

Gurdeep: Every day I do my dancing and people do connect with that.

We are shown 2 children's drawings of Gurdeep and a happy birthday letter.

Gurdeep: And, not only they are appreciating it, it's creating a positive impact on their lives.

Gurdeep is dancing Bhangra in the snow with 2 children in perfect sync.

The scene fades to black.

Text displays: “Immigrants enrich our communities”.

The scene fades to black.

Text displays: “Share your story #ImmigrationMatters

Facebook: @CitCanada

Twitter: @CitImmCanada

Instagram: @CitImmCanada”

The scene fades to black.

Text displays: “Canada.ca/immigration-matters

The scene fades to black.

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada corporate signature is shown followed by the Canada wordmark.

Immigration profile: Whitehorse, Yukon

Quick facts:

Did you know?

  • When gold was discovered in the Yukon in 1897, many of the people who rushed there to make their fortune were Americans. While most never struck it rich, they were able to make a living and bring their families to settle in the North.

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