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The Ukrainian Experience in Canada

Alexander and Anna Szpak and their three chirldren were part of the first wave of Ukrainian immigrants that helped boost the population of the prairies in the early 20th century.

tyler lowe

on 4 May 2010

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Transcript of The Ukrainian Experience in Canada

immigration The Ukrainian Experience in Canada In july 1900, the Szpak family made the long journey form their hometown in Ukraine to northeastern alberta. Here, Alexander paid $10 for 64.7 hectares of land through the Dominion Lands Act. In return, the Szpaks agreed to clear the land and construct buildings. The work was backbreaking, and the work was hard. One winter, the Szpak family lost both a son and daughter to tubercilosis.
The Szpaks were used to farming and hard work. Even so, they found the prairie soil hard to break and the climate harsh. At first, the farm was to small for the family. this meant that Alexander, like mant others, would have to leave the farm and look for a job. He worke in a goldmine in Bakerville, british colum-bia, to make the money he needed.
When he was able to return to the family farm, he baegan selling work-
horses. Discrimination Like nearly 200,000 Ukraine immigrants, the Szpak family left behind a familiar indentity to embrace a new one. because few Ukrainian immigrants spoke english, it was hard for them to tell people what they wanted or needed. the also found the people in their new country were often unkind and unwilling to help. clifford sifton had tried to attract Ukrainiansbecause he respected their hardwoking ways. but how many of their canadian neighbours disagreed. even the newspapers made fun of the way the newcomers dressed,their customs, and their efforts to speak english. people harrassed them, called thm names, and made it difficult for Ukrainian immigrants to fell at home in their new country. internment When world war 1 started in 1914, attitudes toward Ukrainian immigrants became even worse. At the time Ukraine was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was allied with germany, many immigrants from both germany and Ukraine were labelled "enemyaliens". They were required to register with the government, carry identity cards, and report to police regularly. About 5,000 Ukrainian immigrants were sent to live in forced labour camps across the country. some canadians did not speak out against this abuse. but many Ukrainian and germans were forced to stay in the camps until two years after i the world was over. Assimilation and Reclaimation As a resultof this mistreatment, many Ukrainian immigrants began to let go of their language and culture. They lost their Ukrainian identity while trying to fit into canadian society. Today, mant decendants of these immigrants are proudly reclaiming their Ukrainian language, culture, and traditions. Harvey Szpak, for example, is the grandson of Alexander and Anna Szpak. Using a different spelling of the family name, spak works in Aberta as an artist and filmmaker. He told his story of his grand parents and other Ukrainian immigarnts in a documentary series about the immigrant esperience in Canada> bibolography pages 304-305 in Mcgraw-Hill Ryerson understanding nationalism text book By: Margaret Hoogeveen
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