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Conference recording part 1b

Continuation of Presentation by Mr. Petr Czarnowsky: Eastern Europeans, despite their proportion of the population, came to form a large number, often over 50% of ethnic associations in Alberta. This includes ethnic organizations, arts organizations, and linguistic schools. Policies of multiculturalism have helped to form these figures, but have had the unforeseen consequence of adding to confusion about Eastern European ethnic groups on the part of students and teachers alike.

Presentation by Mr. Joanna Mateko on the problems already being faced in the study of Poles. She came from Poland associated with the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw for 15 years. She did work in the field of Polish history, having published numerous articles and co-author of bibliographies that were compiled by the Polish academy of sciences. She does her research on the Poles in Alberta. A problem that exists in the study of Poles is the inaccuracy of academic and official documents pertaining to Polish settlement in Canada, and the difficulty in unearthing accurate depictions and statistics of Polish settlers, and Slavic settlers more generally. This can be derived from a lack of knowledge from Canadian officials, and a lack of consciousness amongst many Slavic groups, particularly the Poles and Ukrainians.

Presentation by Mr. John Sokolowski, a graduate student in the department of Slavic Languages, his first graduate program was as a Classicist. He does work on the Russians and Belarussians. He started his work on the East Slavs, the Russians, Belarussians, and Ukrainians in Alberta. They no longer work on the Ukrainians as so much work has been published. They started their study with the Russians and Belarussians, they hope to determine an accurate number of people of Russian and Belarussian origin in Alberta. Contention on the accurate number of Russians and Belarussians in Canada, as the definition of Russian has changed over time, with many early documents associating many non-Russian ethnic groups as Russian. Dynamics have changed with census records over the years, which still continue to be unreliable. There is thought to be far more Belarussians in Canada than official census documents would suggest.

Presentation by Mrs. Dr. Yermilla Horna University of Calgary Department of Sociology. Dr. Horna was educated in Prague and Bratislava came to Canada in ’58, taking part in the project doing the history of the Czechs and the Slovaks. She got a grant for the study of patterns of adjustment of Czechoslovaks, the so called refugees of 1968-1969. The study focused on pre-1968 settlement of Czechoslovaks in Canada to figure out if incoming refugees had a previous basis to go off of, or had to ‘start from scratch’. Research found majority of Czechoslovaks came to Alberta as miners, farmers, or other labourers, mostly from Slovakia. Greatest wave of Czechoslovak migration prior to 1968 came in 1885. The recording cuts out before she can say more.

Conference recording part 2a

Unknown speaker: Speaking about the contentions in someone’s paper about the status of Jews in the GDR. States that even in extremely religiously repressed countries, religious leaders will proclaim how great the religious freedom they feel is. The GDR, being like the Soviet Union, is not unique in this when it comes to their Jewish community. The GDR is anxious to keep up a good image, and the Jewish Community, being small, is very easy to finance. In West Germany compensation for victims of the Nazis was given, while in East Germany no such thing was offered. Thus the number of Jews in East Germany is not representative of the Jews who originated in East Germany that survived the Second World War. Speaker questions why, after the description of Pensions in East Germany, that Canadian and American Jews aren’t busting down the door of East Germany to live in “Honecker’s Paradise”. The recording cuts out.

Unknown speaker: Many of the Jews they’ve talked to report being economically and socially happier in East Germany as opposed to places like Riga or Warsaw. This applies particularly to Polish Jews. Jews would apply to the East German Ministry of the Interior and through their own nations to request to leave. Being in the same bloc this was not difficult. There are only about 800 registered members of the Jewish community in East Germany, but this number is more realistically over one thousand as non-registered members of Jewish descent. [There is an interruption in the tape.] Jewish citizens of the GDR feel fully committed and loyal as citizens of their state. Immigrants coming into a society are changed by that society.

Meeting that relates to University relations as it affects Eastern Europe. A speech about the importance on the stance of the University for talking about these topics which relate to a large portion of Northern Alberta’s population.

A change in the panel composition: the addition of Dr. Sukhoversky, who is well versed with the University Library, which has many volumes relating in foreign languages and in English, about Central and Eastern Europe. The deletion is Mr. Afigannus, who was to be here as an observer not a panelist.

Presentation by Mr. Kostash: Talks about the function of universities. Talks about how East European and Soviet Studies at the university follows the same functions. Mentions that one who takes particular focus on the East European courses offered by the University can find themselves being skilled and knowledgeable scholars. Initiatives by professors at the university to make sure students in the field go out to the ethnic communities to get a feel for how they are. Talks about the importance of community approval and funding for new programs. Stresses transparency of activities in programs as it relates to the community.

Presentation by Mr. Duruviches, a member of the Lithuanian community, and President of the Baltic Society: Discusses the contention with the label ‘Soviet’, coming from Lithuania, and the history Lithuania has with the Soviet Union. The importance of having a place such as a University to study one’s heritage. Expects from the University that it is kept in mind that although their issues are similar at the moment, that Baltic peoples are not Slavic peoples.

Presentation by Dr. Bergin from the Faculty of Education: has a strong interest in Mennonite culture. Difficulties because of mixed loyalties on representing different groups; particularly the Mennonites, who aren’t easily identified by typical visages. [The tape cuts out]

Conference recording part 2b

Tape opens with some joking about Jews and Germans in Canada. A question is asked about where to find guidance about the Eastern European Germans living in Canada. The speaker [presumably Dr. Bergin from the previous tape] responds that it’s easier to find guidance for East Germans than it is for West Germans post WWII. Questioner responds that there’s plenty of information about German immigrants to other parts of the world, but not Alberta. Speaker responds that they must make like a detective and find things.

A questioner asks about the social cohesion of German Canadians. Speaker discusses that there are many issues that exist, particularly the disconnect between the scholarly world and the communities (jokes about the ‘civilized’ manner of scholars and how it doesn’t mesh well for example if the scholar cannot stand Beer Halls). Discusses the difficulties brought about by a national guilt complex following the two World Wars, making it difficult for academically trained Germans to go out into the communities.
A new speaker points out the lack of courses that seem to deal with Hungary in the Division of Eastern European and Soviet Studies Courses. [The tape cuts off to a new speaker]

Mention about the United States stance on Taiwan. Discussion about joint Soviet-American action on China. Mention of the high possibility that world conquest still on the minds of the Soviet Union. Debate as to whether or not the Soviet Union still adheres to the idea of World Revolution and Global Communism. Discussion about the difference between European Communist and Soviet Communist models. Debate as to whether the rise of European Communist Parties in European governments would increase the power of the Soviet Union or not. Discuss whether or not the Soviets would strongarm their way to influence Yugoslavia. More discussion about whether or not Yugoslavia may enter the Soviet sphere. It is mentioned that the Soviet Imperialist approach is far more realistic than the other Imperialist approaches of other powers. The Western powers lack the will of resistance to oppose every act of Soviet opposition in the world. Example of China as a failure of the United States to oppose the spread of Communist influence due to a lack of will. Discussion of the ideological differences between Euro Communism and how the Soviets wouldn’t approve of an undermining of their control. Question of Soviet involvement in Quebec separatism, responding with the notion that the Soviet Union supports multinational states ‘sticking together’. Example of PQ support for Ukraine independence annoying Soviet officials.
Importance of protesting Russian violations of the Helsinki pact.

Presentation by Dr. Sukoversky: the definition of a collection, and that professors start collections. Students can start collections too. Ethnic groups can start collections.

Conference recording part 3a

Continuation of presentation by Dr. Sukoversky: Continues talking about how collections are made. Story about how a collection that had been abandoned was resurrected. Talks about the Sorbian people living in South East Germany, and how a collection was made about the Sorbs. University of Alberta has the strongest collection of materials on Sorbs and Vends. Collections must go back as far as possible. Collections can morph from one topic into another: Russian to Ukrainian, Ukrainian to Polish, Polish to Czech, Czech to Yugoslavia. Talks about the weak Slovak and Hungarian collection. To non-Slavs, Hungarian is expected. Importance of objective study of the Soviets, teachers and students can get an objective lens on the Soviet Union.

New speaker: The community has supported many cultural programs.

Presentation by the Chairman of Edmonton Historical Board: Begs the division to do things for the community: research into the history of ethnic groups needed. Role of ethnic groups missing from history books. Record of ethnic peoples needed. Record must include when people came to Edmonton and district, who were they, what did they do? Those who came to the urban areas, what did they do? An accurate, non-biased, non-prejudiced record needed. Coordination of research needed. Books are needed that are easy to sell and easy to buy. The third need is for funding to publish existing nearly finished works on ethnic groups.

Mr. Kostash: Funds are public funds for publishing, justification must be given as to why financial support should be given to many works. What liaison exists in terms of public funds and works that wish to be published?

Dr. Sukoversky: The University Library exists for a variety of purposes. To expand the library, tax payers would need to pay more. The public library exists to serve many purposes for the public. Every ethnic group can have newspapers, periodicals in books, and other literature in the public library, it has to be requested.

[The recording cuts out during a story about buying Ukrainian books for the public library].

Conference recording part 3b

Continuation of presentation by Dr. Sukoversky: Continues story about community engagement with the public library. On the question of liaison groups: it’s up to the ethnic groups, they have their own organizations and should get in touch, it’s not the university’s job.

Mr. Kostash: The usefulness of the University Senate come in two areas: monitoring the academic things going on in the university and ensuring there’s no favoritism in programs. Private organizations have a responsibility to ensure that funds are being allocated intelligently and efficiently. Some things don’t require the demanding funds when they can be done at better times or in better ways.

Unknown speaker: Publications should be released with the contacts of liaisons that can be contacted between ethnic communities and publications.

Unknown speaker: The community should help the division to find ways to release the kinds of publications that the community desires.

Presentation by Mr. Kistner: Wasn’t prepared to present but is talking from the perspective of a foot soldier. He is Baltic German born in Tallinn Estonia. Talks about how maps often forget about the islands of Estonia. Baltic Germans is a very small group. It’s worthwhile for even very small groups to write their history and preserve their heritage. In doing work there’s lots of assistance needed, time, and footwork. Being a small group has its advantages, no need for sampling.

Open Session
Professor Rolland: University officials are just paid assistance, to help the community to spread unbiased facts about people from Eastern Europe. Funding, publishing, liaison, money, structure. What good is a building without anyone in it? Being asked many tasks, but we ask you where are the people we are supposed to be teaching? Where is the interest in the young people? A severe lack of numbers in the classroom.

Unknown speaker: Many high school trips go to the UK and France, but none go to Eastern Europe, there’s no interest in a country if they’ve never been to it.

Unknown speaker: Primary teachers don’t get enough information about Eastern Europe, very early interest cannot be built. There’s a marvelous library and studies that are unknown to the public, and inaccessible. If a pride cannot be instilled in Canadian Pluralism, then numbers will remain low, and ignorance will prevail.

This is a mutual affair, if the division is to serve the community, it must go above the head of the faculty of extension, the faculty of extension doesn’t cover all they community’s needs.

Unknown Speaker: A course was offered, in which every means at the university’s disposal was used, still only had 12 enrolled. Not enough to satisfy the university. UKR 320, only 1 student enrolled.

Mike Torman: One reason for low enrollment: very utilitarian society, if a course doesn’t offer something ‘useful’ it won’t be taken. Languages are very disciplined subjects, it takes a highly disciplined student to learn them.

Unknown speaker: Motivation is extremely important, advertising isn’t enough. The travel course it a really good thing. The generosity of the community, the province, made starting new programs easier, even when the province was much poorer. The community must do its share to promote the material basis of the division. If the division is to prosper, this is what we need. The end product is service to the community. [The recording cuts out]

Conference recording part 4

Continuation of the speech made in tape c263-b: The community is served by the university in the same way as elementary schools but on a different level.

Mr. Birov: A foundation for Hungarian history would cost half a million. The government promised that if the foundation reached half of that ($250,000) the government would match the rest. Due to such a small Hungarian group, they had trouble reaching that. Is there anywhere else that could be approached to acquire the other quarter million? What do ethnic groups have to go through to get cooperation?
[The person with the recording equipment had to leave]

Conference recording part 5

Opening speaker: Several objectives: 1. Have academics and community interact. 2. To have interaction among ethnocultural groups. 3. To reduce intergroup tensions. 4. To see what educational resources there are to accomplish the first 3 goals. What is the ambitious goal? To ensure we and our children know about each other. To remember that Canada itself is part of the global village.

Dr. Lock: Recites a poem.

Presentation by Dr. Yamila Horna, Chair of the Department for Soviet and East European Studies: This is a great opportunity to share one’s heritage the one brings to this country. This is one of the few opportunities where people from academia can share contributions to the community.

Dr. Golitsyn: Some anecdotes about his family. Always gets asked where he’s from, for some reason someone interested in Eastern European studies must be from Europe. Has Canadian roots though. Feels as a North American Canadian and an European Canadian too. The government will at some point have to look at our roots, our heritage. The British and French like to call themselves the founders, but the Celts a while ago had a conference, and they also had a large role. Even the French component if very Celtic. What about the other Europeans? That which divides us is far less than that which binds us together. Have been asked to look at the roots of this organization and its destiny. The destiny is great, it brings people together in the area of learning. Our schools DO teach us about us. Our schools MUST teach us about us. The interest of the academics is bringing people together to make these kinds of things happen. There are many people who are not necessarily Slavic or Eastern European that will be interested in Slavic and Eastern European studies. By this time next year there will be a patent as a society, and some legal status, and that we will be electing a national and regional board. Those from each province will be asked to meet together as one group and recommend who will be their two representatives to the national board, who will serve in the interim as provincial chairman.

Some closing remarks about a cathedral made of rocks.