Chair: Jelena Pogosjan – University of Alberta

Mark Minenko – King’s College London

Mark Minenko is currently a PhD Law student at King’s College London having completed his undergraduate law degree at the University of Manitoba and his LL.M. at the University of Alberta. His research focuses on civilian rights during war and conflict focusing on the administration of justice in Canada during the First World War under emergency powers legislation. He has presented papers and led seminars in Canada, Australia, Germany, and in Bosnia where he was serving as the Assistant to the NATO Political Advisor during the transition from NATO to the EU in 2004. He was part of the distance learning faculty of the Royal Military College of Canada teaching courses in Leadership and Ethics, Defence Management and the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Politics. He has been a Barrister and Solicitor in Canada for over 30 years, served with the Canadian military reserves for over 36 years, was the Deputy Speaker and a Member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, and worked in regulatory development and reform in Alberta. Treatment of POWs in Canada is one of his research interests.


Searches for records relating to issues impacting Ukrainians in Canada can lead to dead ends or little information. This may be as a result of the fact that records have been destroyed or those cataloguing the records may not appreciate the multi-disciplinary aspect to those records. An example is the search for First World War internment records. With a little creativity and, more importantly, an understanding of processes relating to First World War internment my search has yielded tens of thousands of records none of which had been previously discovered. Many of these records relate to various aspects of the lives and times of Ukrainians in Canada not just related to the internment issue. My presentation will provide insight into how one can approach a search for records about Ukrainians by understanding the processes within which they were involved or which impacted them.

Aleksandra Hnatiuk – Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Ola (Aleksandra) Hnatiuk is a professor at the Center for East European Studies University of Warsaw and a visiting professor at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kyiv, where she heads the master’s in History program and coordinates a joint master’s program between the Academy and the University of Warsaw. She is a member of the board of publishing series “Ukraine – Europe. 1921-1939.” Hnatiuk served in the Polish diplomatic corps from 2006 to 2010 as the First Counselor. She has received numerous awards, including Polonia Restituta (Republic of Poland highest state award) and the Antonovych Foundation Award for fostering Polish-Ukrainian cultural cooperation. Her most recent books are Farewell to the Empire. Ukrainian Debates on Identity at the Turn of XX and XXI Century (in Polish 2003, in Ukrainian 2005); Courage and Fear (2015).


The collection of V.J. Kaye-Kysilewsky, a prominent Canadian Slavic research and public figure, is an example of exemplary preservation and work by archivists of the heritage one of the most prominent Canadians of Ukrainian descent. However, with the exception of one thorough article by a Canadian scholar and a failed study by a Polish historian, the collection did not become the object of wider interest of either Ukrainians, historians or political scientists. In my opinion, only the publication of the diary of Volodymyr Kysilewsky may bring the interest of a broader range of researchers, in particular in Ukraine. The publication of the diary is planned within the framework of the publishing series “Ukraine – Europe. 1921-1939”, which is the project of Ukraina Moderna and the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Modern Ukrainian History and Society at the CIUS.

The diary covering the time span of 1931-1939 was written mainly in London, where Kysilewsky lived at the time. During that period, he was a member of the Ukrainian press office, founded by Yakiv Makohin, an American of Ukrainian descent. The Ukrainian press office was a kind of substitute for the embassy, performing informational and, to some extent, representative functions.

The diary of Kysilewsky is an extremely valuable source for studying the international context of Ukrainian issue in the interwar period for several reasons. Firstly, it gives insider information about the attitude of the British and Canadian government circles to Ukraine, which has not yet become the subject of inquisitive research (with the exception of one article). Secondly, in the diary there is unique information about the issue of Ukraine in the policies of European countries. Thirdly, the diary gives a detailed description of the links between emigration and the Old Country, including the activities of the Canadian deputy Mykhailo Luchkovych, the meetings of Ukrainian Galician politicians with representatives of the emigration groups, and the attempts to unite different communities in Canada to help the Old Country outside of political movements. Fourthly, the diary highlights a variety of Ukrainian activities on the international scene, from the petition to the League of Nations concerning pacification, through an attempt to “strike a big bell of anxiety” during the Holodomor, up to an attempt to make the Carpatho-Ukraine issue international.

Andriy Nahachewsky – University of Alberta

Dr. Andriy Nahachewsky is a Professor at the University of Alberta. He occupies the Huculak Chair of Ukrainian Culture and Ethnography, and has served for 15 years as Director of the Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore. He has experienced archives extensively as a long-time Curator of the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives, as a researcher, and as a donor himself. He has conducted fieldwork projects on Ukrainian communities in a dozen countries. His publications deal mostly with ethnic dance, the Ukrainian Canadian experience, and ethnographic methodology. His current project explores narratives about Ukrainian immigration to Canada and Brazil from 1891-1914 as a traditional folklore genre and as “creative non-fiction,” searching for patterns in the narratives related to the storytelling moment.


I travelled across Canada in 2016 in search of Ukrainian Canadian immigration stories in thirteen archival collections.  I found hundreds of narratives in expected and unexpected collections. I visited 13 collections in Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina and Edmonton, including government archives, university institutions, community organizations and private collections. I searched for immigration stories in published sources, manuscripts, correspondence, audio and video formats.

The archives varied greatly in terms of their size, their organization, condition of the collections, finding aids, and accessibility of the actual materials. In this presentation, I propose to use a description of my experiences as a platform for describing the diverse situations, focusing on the diverse situations, sharing my perceptions of the current situation and best practices. My assessment is coloured by my own experiences as curator of the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives over several decades, with numerous challenges and successes. It includes suggestions for archives with Ukrainian Canadian content, who wish to increase their sustainability and optimise their potential usefulness for researchers into the future.

Radomir Bilash – Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

Radomir Bilash completed his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees at the University of Manitoba, majoring in Cultural Anthropology, and minoring in Ukrainian. He has been associated with the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village since 1977, and currently holds the position of Senior Historian, responsible for the research associated for this award winning open-air museum. He is also the Project Manager of the Alberta-Ukraine Genealogical Project. Until recently, he was long affiliated with the University of Alberta, serving as Adjunct Associate Professor and Lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, where he taught Early Ukrainian Canadian Culture (UKR327). As well, he was Project Manager for the Local Culture and Diversity on the Prairies Research Project at the Kule Folklore Centre. Most recently he has served as Consultant for the St. Onuphrius Ukrainian Catholic Church revitalization project at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. He has authored articles and presentations pertaining to Ukrainian- Canadian culture and history.


In 1971, the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village was established by a private society as a “pioneer village”, mimicking similar sites that were operating throughout Canada and the United States since the 1950s. By 1975, the venture had been acquired by the Province of Alberta, and has been operated by the Department of Culture (or its variously named equivalents) since that time. With the support of the establishing Society and the Ukrainian-Canadian community in Alberta, the Department set out to develop and operate the site using the highest of museum standards in place in Canada at that time. The intent was not only to establish a lasting legacy in exhibit form, but also to develop and maintain all products in archival form for the benefit of future generations. By 1980, this had been formalized into the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village Research Program. This presentation will describe the steps taken in establishing, developing, and maintaining the Programme and its collections, its methodologies, and subsequent products and application over the past 35 years.