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Memorial Garden Opened at Site of World War I Internment Camp

Jun 5, 2018 | Community, Featured

Danylo Puderak, UCC Saskatchewan Executive Director for New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

On May 25, 2018 approximately 60 guests attended the dedication of the Eaton Internment Camp Memorial Garden at the Saskatchewan Railway Museum, the former site of the camp.

The event marked the beginning of a year of remembrance, recognizing 2019 as the centenary of the Eaton Internment Camp, where 65 men were interned from February 25 to March 21, 1919 by the federal government under the War Measures Act. During Canada’s First National Internment Operations of 1914-1920, 8,579 Ukrainians and other Europeans deemed “enemy aliens” were interned in 24 internment camps throughout Canada not for any wrong committed, but because of their ethnic origin.

The memorial garden was arranged through the efforts of four project partners: the Ukrainian Canadian Congress of Saskatchewan (UCC Saskatchewan), the Saskatchewan German Council (SGC), the Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage (PCUH) at the University of Saskatchewan, and the Saskatchewan Railway Museum (SRM). The garden features a reflection area and historical plaque in French, English, Ukrainian and German, complementing the commemorative monument unveiled by the PCUH and SRM in September 2004.

Following welcoming remarks by SRM Chair Cal Smith, UCC Saskatchewan President Mary Ann Trischuk, SGC President Josephin Dick and PCUH Director Dr. Bohdan Kordan, the following dignitaries brought greetings: Honourable Don Morgan, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Government of Saskatchewan; Judy Harwood, Reeve, RM of Corman Park; and, Emil Yereniuk, Chair, Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund Endowment Council.

UCC Saskatchewan President Mary Ann Trischuk said, “It is moving to see everyone gathered here this morning to dedicate this Memorial Garden and create a serene place of reflection and commemoration for the many who suffered unjustly nearly one hundred years ago as the result of the actions of this country’s national government.”

“The passing of Bill C-331, Internment of Persons of Ukrainian Origin Recognition Act in 2005 and the creation of the Canadian First Word War Internment Recognition Fund in 2008 are positive steps in recognizing this injustice by the Canadian Government,” said Trischuk. “The purpose was twofold: firstly, to provide an educational tool and, secondly, to help establish commemorative initiatives so, as Canadians, we can remember and be vigilant in defence of our civil liberties and human rights.”

Students Kathrin Schilling, Frank Sun, Lorena Yeung, and Aleena Khawaja took turns reading from a German poem, “Schatten der Vergangenheit” (“Shadows of the Past”). A high-bush cranberry and an elder, which hold great cultural significance for Ukrainians and Germans respectively, were then planted by the representatives of the project partners as a long-lasting symbol of eternal memory.

This was followed by a prayer and blessing of the memorial garden by Very Rev. Archpriest Janko Kolosnjaji (Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon), Very Rev. Fr. Kevin McGee (Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon), Very Rev. Archpriest Taras Makowsky (Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Saskatoon) and Very Rev. Archpriest Bohdan Demczuk (North Battleford & Area Ukrainian Orthodox Parish District). All attendees then participated in the singing of O Canada to conclude the program.

On behalf of the project partners, UCC Saskatchewan thanks both the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund Endowment Council, a key funder of the historical plaque, and SaskCulture/SaskLotteries for their generous financial support. Special thanks to benefactor Karen Larson, whose generous gift helped make the dedication possible.

UCC Saskatchewan is an inclusive, self-sustaining, vibrant organization that serves the Saskatchewan Ukrainian community to maintain, develop and share its Ukrainian Canadian identity, culture and aspirations.

UCC Saskatchewan Executive Director Danylo Puderak at 306-652-5850 ext. 108, or [email protected]

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