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Ahousaht First Nation, Sikh agency connect to right wrong of British past

The story of how the Ahousaht First Nation came to receive $100,000 from a Sikh humanitarian agency starts with a toddle...

The story of a little Indigenous girl ripped from her family in 1864 has connected two communities still reeling from the colonial legacy of the British Empire.

The story of how the Ahousaht First Nation came to receive $100,000 from a Sikh humanitarian agency starts with a toddler who would come to be known as Maggie Sutlej.

British sailors pulled the toddler’s body from underneath her dead mother. The woman was one of 15 Ahousaht people killed after their villages were fired upon by two Royal Navy ships in August 1864, according to the book Tofino and Clayoquot Sound: A History...

...When Singh learned of the abduction of Maggie Sutlej, he felt compelled to connect with the Ahousaht people.

“I felt like I wanted to reach out to them and say: ‘The name Sutlej has a negative connotation, but let’s try and turn it into something positive and raise awareness of Maggie Sutlej,’ ” Singh said.

At a gala in Parksville today, Khalsa Aid Canada will give the Ahousaht First Nation $100,000 to support the nation’s youth programs and search-and-rescue operations over the next five years. The initiative will be called the Maggie Sutlej Ahousaht Project.

Ahousaht Chief Greg Louie said he’s overwhelmed by the powerful gesture of reconciliation.

The story of the little girl stolen from her community is still a central part of Ahousaht’s oral history, Louie said...

...“My hope is that the Ahousaht community, they realize there are other people out there who care about what happened to them,” Singh said.

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