Kononenko Natalie (Edmonton, Сanada)
a Ph.D., a professor, a Kule Chair of Ukrainian Ethnography at the University of Alberta
Secular Plays in Churches: Folklore-Based Drama on the Canadian Prairies
Starting from the late XIXth century, Ukrainians have been recruited to settle and farm the prairies of Central and Western Canada. The Canadian government has tried to assimilate the Ukrainians who come and practiced aggressive language policy, especially in the educational system. To countervail the governmental pressure of anglization, Ukrainians have established their own institutions: Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholic churches. The churches and the organizations affiliated with them, such as Women’s Leagues, have taught folk traditions including pysankawriting, embroidery and folk dances. Church halls and national houses are allowed for secular activities, such as folklorebased plays in Ukrainian. The plays, popular in the 1950s–1960s, reflect the hopes and fears of Ukrainian Canadians concerning the relatives and friends they have left in Ukraine. The plays are no longer staged and many of the rural churches are now closed. The revival of these plays has become a part of the Sanctuary Project, a multiyear team effort to document UkrainianCanadian sacral culture.
verbal art, migration and settlement, churches, language, drama.
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