Saturday, July 19, 2008

Canadian Doukhobors

Canadian Doukhobors
Originally uploaded by mricon
I am into the history of Canadian Doukhobors lately. The religious side doesn't really intrigue me all that much -- what interests me is the dynamics of a large Russian community that migrated en masse to Canada, and then slowly assimilated into the mainstream Canadian culture. These days, you can find plenty of people with Russian names living around the Kootenays -- like "Popoff," "Tarasoff" or "Verigin" -- but if you talk to them, their knowledge of Russian language does not really go beyond a few token words, even for people of older generations. It's even weirder to suddenly be in the middle of a region called "Dolina Ootisheniya" (the "Vale of Consolation") -- somehow it doesn't feel right in the middle of British Columbia. It doesn't help that most signs omit the "Dolina" and just write "Ootisheniya" which simply doesn't make sense in Russian (it literally means "of consolation").

I visited the Doukhobor Museum in Castlegar, BC, while on vacation -- not that exciting, really. I think the best part was eating fairly decent vareniki at the Doukhobor diner -- but that's hard to get wrong. :)

In unrelated news, I'm going to this year's OLS. Any other Fedorans heading that way?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You would probably be interested in a book called 'Edicts of a Man-god' by Lily Nowak availble through Chapters Book Stores.
This teels the story of a period a little earlier than the Candadian portion of history you say you want to learn about.
Here is a bit about the book:
Edicts of a Man-God by Lily Nowak

After Peter Verigan was exiled in Siberia. during the late 1800’s, he realized his biggest personal mistake was marrying the woman he loved.
One of the most dangerous edicts he made to his people was ordering them to burn their guns. After this defiance, Doukhobors were punished until they had nothing left to lose, finally learning the true price of freedom.
Another fictional thread tells of the adventures of Anton, a Cossack soldier on a mission to punish these stubborn Doukhobors for defying the Czar. Instead he falls in love with one of them. But death is on all their agendas until Leo Tolstoy intervenes leaving a heart-broken Anton to decide if he should abandon his lover and go to Canada, or die in a Russian jail with their infant daughter. But he cannot save his Doukhobor lover who is sent to die in Siberia.

Hope you enjoy your reading!