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Ukrainization in Canada

In 2016 Ukrainian Canadians commemorated the 125th anniversary the arrival of the first settlers to Canada and to Manitoba. It was a distinguished honour for Ukrainian Canadians to be recognized by the different levels of government as one of the ethno-cultural leaders in Canada’s community.

During the past 125 years many instrumental key values have meshed into Canada’s life and culture. Ukrainians have played a most significant role in advancing a multicultural concept for Canada by maintaining the dignity of the individual. Every group came from a different region of Ukraine and settled in a different area of Canada. Each group had their own distinctive experiences, desires and each wave had something special to offer to Canada, focusing on their achievements and contributions. Maybe now is the time to address the future development of the Ukrainian community in Canada.

We have inherited four waves of immigrational customs, tradition and history. Over the past 127 years, our community has undergone tremendous changes. Today in Canada the Ukrainian situation is a very special one as an ethnocultural minority permanently woven into the fabric of Canadian society.  As Ukrainian Canadians we have long passed the problems of integration and citizenship.  Despite changing conditions in Canada, our community continues to retain values, traditions and a language which has become part of our way of life in Canada. This has given Ukrainian Canadians a sense of belonging to both our community and to Ukraine; we have been anxious to define our rights and destiny in Canada.

As descendants of immigrants, we understand the problems of the past and wish to devise strategies to safeguard our place in Canadian society.

To this day, Ukrainians Canadians are determined to maintain using modern technology and communications their culture, language and identity by strengthening the Ukrainian community. One of the paramount concerns that Ukrainian Canadians have to this date, the retention of language and culture. There must be a continued push for preservation and enhancement of the cultural heritage of our community. Today, our future existence and continued development is seriously threatened. There must be a conscientious strategic community renewal undertaken, a deeper understanding and greater involvement by both the public and the Ukrainian Canadian community. A special knowledge of Ukrainian Canadian history and political circumstances would help immensely.

Ukrainian Canadians  must guard against defamation and ensure that the reporting of Ukrainian history and aspirations both in Canada and in Ukraine is accurate. What is very important for Ukrainian Canadians to know that we have for a long time, over 127 years, been an integral part of Canadian society. Ukrainian Canadians believe in Canada as a multicultural nation-a nation whose social and economic development, cultural identity and linguistic diversity has allowed the Ukrainian society to preserve and enhance Ukrainization in our Canadian community. Here is the question we must ask ourselves in the forthcoming years. Will there be an increasingly usage and facilitating of the Ukrainian language by promoting other elements of Ukrainian culture to sustain our role in Canadian society? If the answer is yes, then we as Ukrainian Canadians will continue to exist in generations to come within this  multicultural diverse society.

 

About The Author

Peter J. Manastyrsky a member of the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg.

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