Вінніпеґ Український № 7 (53) (July 2019)


oncurrently, the

altruistic Roman

Catholic Archbishop,


Langevin of St.

Boniface became

acutely aware of

the plight of early

Ukrainian settlers.

He corresponded

with Cardinal Sembratovich


Count Goluchowski,

Austrian Minister of

External Affairs and The

Vatican regarding the issues

of demographics, lack of priests,

finances and schools. (Les Galiciens au

Manitoba dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest Canadien)

Memorandum of Archbishop Adélard

Langevin, May 2, 1899, St. Boniface Archives.

In further correspondence, dated July 2, 1904

directed to Emperor Franz Joseph concerning “les

sujets ruthènes de Sa Majesté apostolique” he referenced

the necessity of Catholic catechism and

schooling for the 4,000 children. “Si l’on pouvait

aussi nous envoyer des mâitres catholiques”…”il y

a plus que 4,000 enfantes Ruthènes sans écoles.”

As former subjects of the Austro-Hungarian Empire,

Langevin naively assumed finances would

flow into his mission. Unfortunately, his petitions

fell on deaf ears.

He wrote Pope Leo XIII renewing efforts to

bring Basilian Fathers to Canada to serve the

Ukrainian cause. Another example included

Belgian Catholic clergy such as Rev. A Sabourin

who served at a Missionary School in Sifton. In

Les Catholiques Ruthènes au Manitoba (Québec,

1909) Sabourin documented Langevin’s views

of the Presbyterian inroads among Ukrainians.

Public Education for

Ukrainians (Ruthenians/Galicians)

in Manitoba

The Early Years



The Laurier-Greenway Compromise (1896)

to The Thorton Act (1916)


Luba Fedorkiw

He promoted the establishment of a Ukrainian seminary

with Progressive Conservative Premier Rodmond

Roblin. The Premier, established not a seminary, but

The Ruthenian Training School for Teachers, this considered

the first high school in Canada. Approximately

200 teachers graduated. Those with qualifications

from Halychyna, quickly progressed when English

was acquired. The educators met at conferences and

advanced pedagogy. Others pursued careers in politics,

law and business.

Langevin appealed directly for Metropolitan Andrij

Sheptysky to visit Canada. In 1910 after ten years of

arduous attempts, Metropolitan Andrij arrived to North

America. Both travelled the frontier visiting settlements.

Metropolitan Andrij realized the secular and other denominational

educational opportunities extended to the “Galicians”

impacting their evolving Canadian lifestyle.

Bishop Nykyta Budka arrived to Canada on December 6, 1912. He too

became aware how Ukrainians asserted themselves in the social, economic

and political spheres. The parochial school of St. Nicholas for Ukrainian children

(McGregor between Stella Ave. and Flora) was built with the assistance

of Archbishop Langevin, the public schools for the Winnipeg immigrant

children mandated instruction in English, evening classes for adults were

successful, the bilingual rural schools were fully operational, All People’s

Mission on Maple St. in Pt. Douglas, the Presbyterian Stella Mission, Bethlehem

Slavic Mission and other rural initiatives were fully rooted for support

among the immigrant population, Manitoba College and The Ruthenian

Training School met the immediate needs of higher education. The core of

urban life centered on Selkirk Ave., Point Douglas and Main Street. Drama

clubs provided artistic enrichment. Newspapers: Kanadiiskyj Farmar (1903),

Kanadiiskyj Rusyn (1911) and Ukrainskyj Holos (1910) were major publications

reflecting the current events of early immigrants. Significant were

Ranok, Presbyterian Church publication and Robochyj Narod (1909) which

focused on the socialist and radical views of the emerging socialist party.

In 1916, the provincial Liberal government of Premier Tobias C. Norris

under Section 258 of The Public Schools Act, The Thorton Act nullified

bilingual education in Manitoba. This meant that the 130 rural school districts

operating bilingual schools with approximately 114 teachers and 6,513

pupils were mandated to become unilingual English teaching facilities. The

Ruthenian Training School for Teachers was closed. The direct method of

teaching English to immigrants in public Winnipeg schools under William

James Sisler became the new standard in rural Manitoba.

Bilingual teachers attended summer

school professional training sessions at

Strathcona School where they observed,

practised and developed new educational

strategies. By 1920, over 200 bilingual

educators completed this training and

William J. Sisler’s curriculum and materials

assisted with the new educational


World War I (1914-18) precipitated antagonism

and consequences for countless

Ukrainians with Austro-Hungarian

passports. Groundlessly, many were

identified as disloyal or enemy aliens.

Under the War Measures Act, Ukrainian

newspapers were required to print

parallel translation in English (bilingual)

and suspected radical publications

were banned. This sudden dynamic advanced

alternate measures: vigilance

in association, integration/assimilation

through name changes to avoid targeting

or discrimination, structuring new

supplemental vehicles for linguistic and

cultural integrity through ridni shkoly*,

youth groups, choirs, dance ensembles,

chytalyni, the Sheptyckyj “bursa (hostel)

in St. Boniface for rural students (1917-

20) and many more.

In Iwasko and Kazymyra’s Jubilee Book

of Ukrainian Catholics in Saskatchewan,

pp.135-6, noted: “after his fifteen-year

tenure in Canada (1912-27), Bishop

Nykyta Budka left behind fourty-seven

clergy, two hundred and ninety-nine parishes

and missions, twenty six evening

schools*, five parochial schools and five

orphanages. During his tenure in Canada,

he became well acquainted with local

politicians, educators and business people.

He witnessed both the achievements

and failures of his people, issues related

to public education, disenfranchisement


Bilash, Borislaw N. Bilingual Public Schools in Manitoba 1897-1916. Winnipeg: Ukrainian

Education Services, 1960,1970

Bodrug, John, Independent Orthodox Church: Memoirs Pertaining to the History of a

Ukrainian Church in the Years 1903-1913 (Toronto: Ukrainian Research Foundation, 1982)

Czumer, Wm. A., Recollections About the Life of the First Ukrainian Settlers in Canada,

(Edmonton: CIUS,1981)

Gregor,Alexander and Wilson Keith, The Development of Education in Manitoba,

(Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 1984)

Lehr,John, C. and Brian McGregor, The Geography of Bilingual Schools in Manitoba:

Manitoba History 61 (Fall 2009)

Maciejko, Bill, “Ukrainian and Prairie School Reform,1896-1921” Canadian Ethnic Studies 22 no. 2 (1990)

Martynowych,O.T. Ukrainians in Canada: The Formative Period, 1891-1924 (Edmonton:

CIUS Press,1991)

Rozumnyj,Jaroslav: New Soil-Old Roots: The Ukrainian Experience in Canada (Winnipeg:

Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in Canada, 1983)

Shack,Sybil, “The Education of Immigrant Children During the First Two Decades of This

Century,” Transactions of the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba, Series III (1973-

74). Stataues of Manitoba

Yuzyk, Paul, The Ukrainians in Manitoba: A Social History (Toronto: University of Toronto

Press, 1953) (Multiple original and secondary sources through Public Archive Library and

University of Manitoba Library)

under the War Measures Act and internment


In May, 1919, just 23 days prior to The Winnipeg

Strike, The Manitoba Teacher Federation

was established. It recorded 650 paid

teacher members in Manitoba. The original

rolls (archived) were destroyed by the Winnipeg

Flood of 1950. Indeed, it would have

been interesting to review the Ukrainian surnames.

In M.T.F. Bulletin, October, 1923 issue

headed The New Canadian Problem by Alfred

White, he noted that 17% of Manitoba’s population

was Ruthenians. He focused on the

resistance of trustees of rural districts to engage

English speaking teachers, perpetuating

support for their own language and culture

and the weakened position of the provincial

government to handle such a situation.

Clearly, education for their children was of

prime importance to early Ukrainian immigrants.

They viewed it as a means to success.

The bilingual system met the immediate

need in rural Manitoba where children

were taught in their maternal language, no

different from the French or Mennonites.

Whether secular or denominational, objective

reflection upon the choices made in the

formative years, framed by the political and

social circumstances of that time, definitely

allowed the teachers, preachers and progeny

to be the recipients of the advantages of The

Laurier-Greenway Compromise and scaffold

forward the yet unknown concept of Canadian

multiculturalism. Czumer, W.A. said it

well: “just as the work of our pioneers on

the farm was not wasted, so also the work of

those first Ukrainian-English teachers. It has

been crowned with great success.”

Parallel with rural bilingual opportunities,

unilingual education for immigrant children

in urban Winnipeg public schools carved its

own niche. Both met their developmental

purpose - to educate productive minds. УВ

30 Український Вінніпеґ - ЛИПЕНЬ 2019 -


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