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West Indian

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The region known as the 'West Indies' includes 40 island and coastal territories. Also known as the Caribbean, it is a cluster or archipelago of islands that begins on the tip of Florida and extends  to the northern coast of South America. It is this chain of islands that separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean Sea. The peoples of the Caribbean include groups varied in culture and language, just as the region is varied in geography.

Although not the first instance of immigration of Caribbean people to Canada, the 1960s were a significant time of immigration for people from the West Indies to Alberta as well as the rest of Canada. During World War II, there was an increased interest in human resource development. With many of the young men away fighting the war and many who would not return, Canada turned to other countries to find skilled people to come to Canada. 

At this same time, skilled people in the Caribbean could not find work that was suited to and fully used the skills and education they had obtained. This was the reason for many Caribbean immigrants to come to Alberta. As well, many Caribbean people came to Canada to study at universities.

West Indian students began several of the Caribbean associations on university campuses, and these associations are in existence in Canada today. Most of the West Indian people who came to Canada settled in central Canada, namely Ontario and the Greater Toronto region. Most of these immigrants moved to larger urban areas in search of education and skilled jobs. 

In turn with the availability of jobs and education in Alberta, this province has attracted many Caribbean immigrants to come from other provinces, such as Nova Scotia and Ontario. This influx of people from the Caribbean has meant the development of many different organizations supporting the rich culture, in dancing, music, arts, foods, and games, in Alberta, most notably the Cariwest celebration which takes place annually Edmonton. As well, there have been organizations that focus on one of the many areas of the culturally and geographically diverse Caribbean, such as Trinidad and Tobago.

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