Tashme Historical Society 

Ryan Ellan, Founder and Curator

President since 2017
Ryan founded the Sunshine Valley Tashme Museum in 2016 and the Tashme Historical Society in 2017. Ryan’s journey in the heritage sector started in 2010 when he assisted in the production of Henry’s Glasses, a fictional short film that takes place in Tashme in 1945. Through his involvement in Henry’s Glasses, Ryan’s interest in the Japanese Canadian internment evolved, and now has over 10 years of research in the history of the internment with a focus on Tashme. In 2017, Ryan received the BC Heritage Award of Honour in the Heritage Education
and Awareness category from Heritage BC.

Melissa Ellan, Treasurer

Director since 2017
Melissa is a founding director of the Tashme Historical Society. Melissa has over 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Special Education Assistant in School District 78 (Hope, B.C.).


Christine Tomlinson, Secretariat Director and Assistant Curator

Director since 2021
Christine holds a Honours Bachelor of Arts in History with a Minor in Greek and Roman Studies from the University of Ottawa and has experience in education, heritage and the public sector as a public servant. She has over seven years experience serving as President, and various board member roles for academic and non-profit organizations. She is passionate about volunteerism and enriching the community through a storytelling lens.


Howard Shimokura, Vice President

Director since 2017

Howard is a founding director of the Tashme Historical Society and an internee elder, a survivor of the Tashme internment camp from 1942-1946. Howard has a strong passion and interest in the research, preservation and exhibition of the rich history and heritage of the Japanese Canadians. Through these interests and his skills, Howard led a team in creating the www.tashme.ca website, a comprehensive history of the Tashme internment camp, which launched in 2016. Howard continues to demonstrate his strong communication skills and knowledge of the history of the Japanese Canadian internment through multiple article writings and presentations for heritage and cultural organizations across the region.


Laura Saimoto, Director


Director since 2021


Laura has served as a change agent and community leader in the Japanese Canadian community for close to two decades.  In light of her family’s Internment history, she is passionate about the education of Japanese Canadian history by transforming built heritage to living sustainable heritage. Laura was chair of the Japanese Canadian Legacy Sign Project from 2017 – 2019.