Letter to the Editor: The times do not seem to be changing for the better, and we ignore our deteriorating institutions at our peril

St. John’s Institute

Re: St. John’s Institute in Edmonton at critical crossroads

(NP-UN #37, 10 October 2019)

The article aptly describes and analyzes the problems our community faces in maintaining churches, schools and other Ukrainian Canadian scholarly and cultural institutions. The really critical issue is that over the decades and generations, individuals and families are choosing to enrich their own lives materially over giving their time and money to institutions. This weakens the cohesiveness of the societies we live in——and, if taken to the extreme, threatens our environment and very civilization. In some measure, Ukrainian society failed to progress thoughout the centuries due to this “not my problem” attitude (reflected in the common retort moia khata z kraiu, lit. ‘my house is on the periphery’). In Canada, as citizens “from far and wide” we have the opportunity to contribute to any number of public and private non-profit ventures, whether it be institutions that support cultural heritage or the Canadian mosaic at large. Let us not forget that in supporting them——one might argue that it is a civic obligation——we “stand on guard” for democracy. So next time you sing the national anthem, give some thought to what “true patriot love” actually means to you in terms of Canadian institutions.

Ksenia Maryniak, M.A., C.Tran.
Editor, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies
University of Alberta, Edmonton