Lesya Ukrainka

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Lesya Ukrainka, born Larysa Petrivna Kosach-Kvitka, is a famous Ukrainian poet and author. During her lifetime, she was a political, civil, and feminist activist. Lesya was born in Ukraine in 1871. She studied law at Kyiv University.

 

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Lesya wrote her first poem, “Hope”, when she was eight years old. When she was 13, she published her first poem,”Lily of the Valley” under her pseudonym because, in the Russian Empire, publications in Ukrainian were forbidden. As a result of this censorship, her first book of poetry was published secretly in Western Ukraine and snuck into Kyiv.

 

During her lifetime, Lesya believed in Ukraine’s independence and fought for its freedom. She actively opposed Russian Tsarism and was a member of Ukrainian Marxist organizations. In 1902, she translated the Communist Manifesto into Ukrainian. She was arrested in 1907 by Tsarist police and remained under surveillance after her release.

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Lesya died in 1913. A monument to her life and work was erected at the University of Saskatchewan and now sits in a prominent location on campus.

 

Contra spem spero!

Гетьте, думи, ви, хмари осінні!

То ж тепера весна золота!

Чи то так у жалю, в голосінні

Проминуть молодії літа?

 

Ні, я хочу крізь сльози сміятись,

Серед лиха співати пісні,

Без надії таки сподіватись,

Жити хочу! Геть думи сумні!

 

Я на вбогім сумнім перелозі

Буду сіять барвисті квітки,

Буду сіять квітки на морозі,

Буду лить на них сльози гіркі.

 

І від сліз тих гарячих розтане

Та кора льодовая, міцна,

Може, квіти зійдуть – і настане

Ще й для мене весела весна.

 

Я на гору круту крем’яную

Буду камінь важкий підіймать

І, несучи вагу ту страшную,

Буду пісню веселу співать.

 

Я співатиму пісню дзвінкую,

Розганятиму розпач тяжкий, –

Може, сам на ту гору крутую

Підійметься мій камінь важкий.

 

В довгу, темную нічку невидну

Не стулю ні на хвильку очей,

Все шукатиму зірку провідну,

Ясну владарку темних ночей.

 

Я не дам свому серденьку спати,

Хоч кругом буде тьма та нудьга,

Хоч я буду сама почувати,

Що на груди вже смерть наляга.

 

Смерть наляже на груди важенько,

Світ застеле суворая мла,

Але дужче заб’ється серденько,

Може, лютую смерть подола.

 

Я не дам свому серденьку спати,

Хоч кругом буде тьма та нудьга,

Хоч я буду сама почувати,

Що на груди вже смерть наляга.

 

Буде погляд мій вельми палати,

Може, згинуть всі хмари сумні,

Може, зірка, як буде сіяти,

Ясний промінь пошле і мені.

 

Смерть наляже на груди важенько,

Світ застеле суворая мла,

Але дужче заб’ється серденько,

Може, лютую смерть подола.

 

Так! я буду крізь сльози сміятись,

Серед лиха співати пісні,

Без надії таки сподіватись,

Буду жити! Геть думи сумні!

 

Thoughts away, you heavy clouds of autumn!
For now springtime comes, agleam with gold!
Shall thus in grief and wailing for ill-fortune
All the tale of my young years be told?

 

No, I want to smile through tears and weeping.,
Sing my songs where evil holds its sway,
Hopeless, a steadfast hope forever keeping,
I want to live! You thoughts of grief, away!

 

On poor sad fallow land unused to tilling
I’ll sow blossoms, brilliant in hue,
I’ll sow blossoms where the frost lies, chilling,
I’ll pour bitter tears on them as due.

 

And those burning tears shall melt, dissolving
All that mighty crust of ice away.
Maybe blossoms will come up, unfolding
Singing springtime too for me, some day.

 

Up the flinty steep and craggy mountain
A weighty ponderous boulder I shall raise,
And bearing this dread burden, a resounding
Song I’ll sing, a song of joyous praise.

 

In the long dark ever-viewless night-time
Not one instant shall I close my eyes,
I’ll seek ever for the star to guide me,
She that reigns bright mistress of dark skies.

 

Yes, I’ll smile, indeed, through tears and weeping
Sing my songs where evil holds its sway,
Hopeless, a steadfast hope forever keeping,
I shall live! You thoughts of grief, away!

Holodomor – A Politically Engineered Famine

The term Holodomor (death by hunger, in Ukrainian) refers to the starvation of millions of Ukrainians in 1932–33 as a result of Soviet policies. The Holodomor can be seen as the culmination of an assault by the Communist Party and Soviet state on the Ukrainian peasantry, who resisted Soviet policies. This assault occurred in the context of a campaign of intimidation and arrests of Ukrainian intellectuals, writers, artists, religious leaders, and political cadres, who were seen as a threat to Soviet ideological and state-building aspirations.

Front Page - Chicago American

Front Page – Chicago American

Between 1917 and 1921, Ukraine briefly became an independent country and fought to retain its independence before succumbing to the Red Army and being incorporated into the Soviet Union. In the 1920s, Soviet central authorities, seeking the support of the populace, allowed for some cultural autonomy through the policy known as “indigenization.”

By the end of the 1920s, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin decided to curtail Ukraine’s cultural autonomy, launching the intimidation, arrest, imprisonment and execution of thousands of Ukrainian intellectuals, church leaders, as well as Communist Party functionaries who had supported Ukraine’s distinctiveness.

Map of area effected by famine. The darker colours are the areas most effected.

Map of the area affected by famine.

At the same time, Stalin ordered the collectivization of agriculture. The majority of Ukrainians, who were small-scale or subsistence farmers, resisted. The state confiscated the property of the independent farmers and forced them to work on government collective farms. Prosperous farmers (owning a few head of livestock, for example) and those who resisted collectivization were branded kulaks (rich peasants) and declared enemies of the state who deserved to be eliminated as a class. Thousands were thrown out of their homes and deported.

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In 1932, the Communist Party set impossibly high quotas for the amount of grain Ukrainian villages were required to contribute to the Soviet state. When the villages were not able to meet the quotas, authorities intensified the requisition campaign, confiscating even the seed set aside for planting and levying fines in meat and potatoes for failure to fulfill the quotas. Special teams were sent to search homes and even seized other foodstuffs. Starving farmers attempted to leave their villages in search of food, but Soviet authorities issued a decree forbidding Ukraine’s peasants from leaving the country. As a result, many thousands of farmers who had managed to leave their villages were apprehended and sent back, virtually a death sentence. A law was introduced that made the theft of even a few stalks of grain an act of sabotage punishable by execution. In some cases, soldiers were posted in watchtowers to prevent people from taking any food from the harvest. Although informed of the dire conditions in Ukraine, central authorities ordered local officials to extract even more from the villages. Millions starved as the USSR sold crops from Ukraine abroad.

Mother of the Year 33 by Nina Marchenko

Mother of the Year 33 by Nina Marchenko

The USSR vigorously denied that the Holodomor had occurred. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Communist Party, secret police, and government archives that have become accessible to researchers support the conclusion that the famine was caused by Soviet state policies and was indeed intentionally intensified by Soviet authorities. (Text modified from http://holodomor.ca/holodomor-basic-facts/)

GENOCIDE? 

As millions died, and others moved in search  of food, armed guards sealed off the border  with Russia, where there was food. As millions  died, the USSR exported grain. According to Dr. Taras Hunczak of Rutgers University, 28  million tons were exported during 1932 and  1933 – four tons of grain per each man, woman, and child who starved. There was no physical reason that they should have died. It was a deliberate policy.

Read full story http://newsweekly.com.au/article.php?id=2923

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Holodomor Memorial in Kyiv, Ukraine

For further reading:

  • Davies, R.W. and Wheatcroft, Stephen G., The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture, 1931–1933. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
  • Graziosi, Andrea, “The Soviet 1931–1933 Famines and the Ukrainian Holodomor: Is a New Interpretation Possible, and What Would Its Consequences Be?”, Harvard Ukrainian Studies 27 (2004–2005), pp. 97–115.
  • Klid, Bohdan and Motyl, Alexander J., co-compilers and co-editors. The Holodomor Reader: A Sourcebook on the Famine of 1932–1933 in Ukraine. Edmonton and Toronto: CIUS Press, 2012.
  • Conquest, Robert. The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
  • Kulchytskyi, Stanislav V., “Holodomor in Ukraine 1932–1933: An Interpretation of Facts,” in Holodomor and Gorta Mór: Histories, Memories and Representations of Famine in Ukraine and Ireland. Ed. Christian Noack et al. London, New York and Delhi: Anthem Press, 2012, pp. 19–33.
  • “Lemkin on Genocide of Nations,” Journal of International Criminal Justice 9 (2009), pp. 123–30.
  • Martin, Terry. The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923–1939. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2001.
  • Naimark, Norman M. Stalin’s Genocides. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2010.
  • Snyder, Timothy. Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. New York: Basic Books, 2010.
  • Werth, Nicholas, “The Great Ukrainian Famine of 1932–33,” Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, published 18 April 2008. Online at http://www.massviolence.org/The-1932-1933-Great-Famine-in-Ukraine.

 

Filip Konowal VC

During the First World War, while the Canadian Government was interning approximately 5,000 Canadians of Ukrainian descent for being enemy aliens, 4,000 brave men of Ukrainian heritage volunteered with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (CEF). Of these courageous men who fought for a country that had declared them unwelcome enemies, one man, Filip Konowal, was recognized for bravery in the face of extreme danger.

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Filip Konowal, born in Kutkivtsi, Ukraine in 1888, enlisted with the 77th Canadian Infantry Battalion on 19 June 1915. He left Halifax for Liverpool on 19 June 1916 and was promoted to Corporal in the 47th British Columbia Battalion. In August 1916, the 4th Division arrived in France. In April 1917, the soldiers participated in the assault on Vimy Ridge. From 22-24 August 1917, during the Battle of Hill 70 in Lens, France, Filip Konowal was recognized for conspicuous bravery in the face of the enemy and he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

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Description of Filip Konowal’s bravery as it appeared in the London Gazette 27 November 1917.

Konowal’s Victoria Cross medal was personally presented to him by King George V. Konowal was also awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal, George VI Coronation Medal, and Elizabeth II Coronation Medal.

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Filip Konowal’s medals. The Victoria Cross is on the far left.

 

After his military service, Konowal worked as a caretaker at the House of Commons before being reassigned to a lifetime job in Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s personal office.

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Portrait of Filip Konowal

 

“Enemy Aliens”

Ukrainian Internment Camps – 1914-1920

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At the beginning of World War I in August 1914, the Canadian government enacted the federal War Measures Act (WMA). The Act’s sweeping powers permitted the government to suspend or limit civil liberties in the interest of Canada’s protection, including the right to incarcerate “enemy aliens”.

The term “enemy alien” referred to the citizens of states legally at war with Canada who resided in Canada during the war. Under the authority of the WMA, Canada interned 8,579 enemy aliens, men, women, and children, in 24 receiving stations and internment camps from 1914-1920.  One of these camps was only 7 miles west of Saskatoon at Eaton Siding, current home of the Saskatchewan Railway Museum.

 

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The majority of those interned were of Ukrainian descent, targeted because Ukraine was then split between Russia (an ally) and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, an enemy of the British Empire. In addition to those placed in camps, another 80,000 enemy aliens, again mostly Ukrainians, were forced to carry identity papers and to report regularly to local police offices.

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The government frequently employed internees on massive labour projects, including the development of Banff National Park and numerous mining and logging operations. Internees had much of their wealth confiscated, although most were paid $0.25 a day, far less than that offered to labourers of the time period. Interned Canadians were also disenfranchised, lost their right to vote, during the course of the war.

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War-time fervour and xenophobic fear had been the main factors driving the policy of internment, and not actual attacks on Canada’s domestic war effort by enemy sympathizers. There were a few inept plans for sabotage on Canadian soil, and fear of a German invasion persisted for several years, but no serious threats materialized.

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The internment of Canadians left painful scars and, for Ukrainian Canadians in particular, the lingering suggestion of widespread disloyalty. In November 2005, after a long, grassroots campaign by the Ukrainian community, Bill C-331 recognized the internment of Ukrainian Canadians during the First World War and called for negotiated settlement between government and members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community. (Text modified from the Canadian War Museum)

Remembering Our History – The Camps by Armistice Films

Actor and activist Ryan Boyko founded Armistice Films in October of 2010. The film company began as a direct result of Mr. Boyko’s desire to tell the story of Canada’s first national internment operations through the power of cinema. It is a story of those lured to Canada by the false promise of a dream – hated when they arrived, turned into prisoners and slaves in the prime of their lives, in a country that promised them a chance, yet never told the story of their affliction. It is a subject struck from Canadian history books.

Armistice Films will release one episode every week. Please take a few moments to watch these short videos about the internment camp, an important and silenced part of Canada’s history.

The company is currently in high gear, financing Enemy Aliens. Armistice Films is the first Canadian company to receive funding directly from Ukraine through a contribution of 1.5 million Canadian from the Ukrainian State Film Agency. Armistice Films is working to raise an additional 3.8 Million CAD to begin filming Enemy Aliens this year. The making of this film will honour the trials and sacrifice of thousands of Ukrainians, Poles, Italians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Turks, Serbians, Hungarians, Russians, Jews, Slovaks, Slovenes, Czechs and Romanians whose home country was under the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s rule. Their freedom was stripped and they were forced into work camps. Many lost everything between the years 1914 – 1920.

To learn how you can give financial assistance to the making of this movie, please contact Ryan directly at ryan@armisticefilms.com or by phone at 647.294.2741

 

 

 

125 Years of Ukrainian Immigration to Canada

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In 1891, two Ukrainian men, Ivan Pylypiw and Wasyl Eleniak, immigrated to Canada. These two men are considered to be the first Ukrainian settlers in Canada and were among the first wave of immigration of 170,000 rural farmers who left their homes in Galicia and Bukovyna to come to Canada. This first wave of immigration ended in 1914.

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Galician Immigrants, circa 1911 (photo by W. J. Topley) thecanadianencyclopedia.ca

With the outbreak of the First World War, immigration virtually ceased and unnaturalized Ukrainians were classified as “enemy aliens” by the Canadian government. At the same time, over 10,000 Ukrainians enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces. Between both world wars, some 70,000 Ukrainians immigrated to Canada for political and economic reasons. They included war veterans, intellectuals, and professionals, as well as rural farmers. Between 1947 and 1954, some 34,000 Ukrainians, displaced by the Second World War, arrived in Canada. Representing all Ukrainian territories, they were the most complex socioeconomic group.

A young Ukrainian girl feeds the chickens on her parents' farm close to Usherville. Photo credit: saskarchives.com

A young Ukrainian girl feeds the chickens on her parents’ farm close to Usherville. Photo credit: saskarchives.com

While the Prairie Provinces absorbed the bulk of the first two waves of immigration, displaced persons settled mainly in Ontario. From the mid-1950s through the 1960s, only a few Ukrainians entered the country annually. In the 1970s and 1980s, however, limited renewed immigration from Poland and the Soviet Union saw perhaps 10,000 ethnic Ukrainians and Soviet Ukrainian Jews come to Canada. Since 1991, a modest but growing number of immigrants have come to Canada from Ukraine, largely because of the country’s political and economic instability. From 2004 to 2013, Canada welcomed 23,623 new permanent residents from Ukraine.

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To commemorate 125 years of Ukrainian immigration to Canada, the UCC is collecting photographs of these new Canadians, your family members. Search through your photo albums and look for that special picture that captures a unique moment in the history of this nation. Email your photo with a brief description of the photo (who, when, what were the circumstances, place of arrival, and place of settlement) to Lesia Demkowicz at lesia@ucc.ca

 

For a wonderful silent movie about Ukrainian immigrants in Saskatchewan, visit the SaskArchives.

Proper Dance Attire and Hair

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Does your dance teacher nag you about your hair?

Taking off your hoodie in class?

Being appropriately groomed?

Do you know why?

She’s preparing you for life out in the world.

Wear your uniform with pride. Be ready for class. Show you have prepared. Show that you are ready. Show that you care. Look like a dancer – feel like a dancer, for casual clothes in class equals a casual mind. Show up, and look the part. Don’t hide under sweaters. Your body is your instrument – show it so you can grow.

Be ready to receive corrections with humility and grace – they are your teachers gift to you. When you hide, you avoid feedback. When you get no feedback, that’s when you should start to worry.

Your teacher has given up. She does not want to ask you to take off your sweater one more time. Do this yourself, and be ready!

Be humble. Be hungry.

This is why good grooming is important.

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modified from: @janegrechdance

Welcome to the 2016-17 Dance Year!

Welcome to all of our new and returning Rushnychok family!

This year, we have over 90 dancers and 60 families with the club. We look forward to a wonderful year of instruction from Sonya, Jason, and Shannon as well as our apprentice and tot instructors Kaitlin and Kennedy. Also, welcome to Austyn who will be an apprentice this year.

2017 is a very special year for Rushnychok as we will be celebrating 50 years of Ukrainian dance in Saskatoon! On our website, we plan to celebrate this anniversary by posting Club history and memorabilia from the past 50 years.  Please feel free to share any photos, videos, or memories that you may have. Get in touch with us by leaving a comment below.

As our dancers begin to learn their choreography, please mark the following special events on your calendar. We will be celebrating Malanka on January 21, 2017. Also, we are attending dance competitions in Saskatoon, North Battleford and St. Albert. We will be showcasing our dancers at our Final Recital on Saturday, April 29, 2017. 

We wish everyone a great year of dance making many memories !

Happy dancing!

Glenda Martens

President

Rushnychok Ukrainian Dance Association