Annie May McLachlan
Annie May McLachlan was born in Pipestone, Manitoba on November 3, 1895. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandon College in 1917, and served as Principal of Pipestone Intermediate School, then history teacher at Virden Collegiate in Manitoba, until 1922.
In 1922, McLachlan enrolled in the United Church Training School in Toronto, and when she finished her training, she was sent by the Woman’s Missionary Society to Japan. There she studied the Japanese language in Tokyo, and worked as a teacher and missionary, primarily at private girls’ schools in Shizuoka and Kofu. During the Second World War, she was placed under house arrest in the city of Shizuoka, until she was returned to Canada in a Canadian and Japanese prisoner exchange in 1942.
McLachlan worked with the many Japanese Canadians interned at Tashme in British Columbia for the remainder of the war, teaching high school. After the war, she returned to Japan to work at the Shizuoka Eiwa Girls School. From about 1952, she began working for the church in Haibara. With her support, the church was able to sponsor an institution – Yamabato – homes for mentally disabled people.
In 1963, May retired and returned to Canada. She then began working among the people of the Soowahlie Reserve in Chilliwack, BC. One of her important accomplishments was organizing the Vedder Project, a project designed to help First Nations people receive a better education and to improve their access to health care and nutrition programs.
May McLachlan was presented with the Distinguished Service Award by the Alumni Association of Brandon University, in 1987; it was granted in recognition of her outstanding public service and contributions to society. She was posthumously awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese government in June 1992. The medal honours individuals who have rendered exceptional service to the nation and the people of Japan. She died at her home in Chilliwack on October 13, 1991.
Recorded: August 2, 1977
Duration: 57 minutes