Doukhobor heritage celebrated at Veregin

            Doukhobors and their friends assembled at the National Doukhobor Heritage Village on Sunday in a celebration of Doukhobor heritage.

            A program of multi-cultural entertainment was held in the afternoon, following a prayer service and lunch. During the day, the museum and buildings were open for tours.

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            “Today we celebrate our heritage and the Doukhobors’ steadfast and difficult jo8rney towards toil, peaceful life and world brotherhood,” said Linda Osachoff, a member of the heritage village board who was the emcee for the program.

“It’s a journey that is not remembered simply as a tradition and a culture,” Osachoff said. “As we witness a world increasingly broken by war, strife, poverty and inequality, this journey becomes even more vividly important and timely.

“This afternoon, we will celebrate through music, song and laughter, a heritage that is shared among all of us who both descend from immigrants and form the First Peoples of the country.”

To begin the afternoon, Osachoff asked everyone to join her in the recognition of those First People who shared not only their land, but their blankets and their food to a wary group of Doukhobor travelers and helped them survive not just the first winter, but many more.

“My heritage memories are growing faint, but here’s what I was told and what I remember,” she said. “It’s no coincidence that our people co-existed in harmny. After all, the set of values within both groups rests within a communal way of life, a respect for all life forms and harmony in the environment. They too fought for their language and their beliefs. They too, needed to seek refuge in order to maintain peace.”

The Heritage Choir began the program with two selections, and then Glen Leson and his daughter Gillian Rice of Canora sang a few songs, accompanying themselves on guitars. For their last number, the duo was joined by Sandy Solonenko of Hampton.

Katerina, who is the character performed by Nadia Reibin of Veregin told several humorous stories, and then was joined at the podium by Tonya of the Mudderlands, as performed by Gloria Stushnoff of Melfort.

Joanne Klimchuk of Rhein and Sandy Solonenko, who perform as Kindred Spirits, sang several songs and then Theresa Sanderson of Keeseekoose First Nation sang, accompanying herself on guitar.

Walter Ostaforoff, chair of the heritage village, made the draws for the 50/50 ticket sales, and announced that Mike Kalinowsky had purchased the John Chick No. 97 Saskatchewan Roughriders’ jersey which had been donated for auction by SaskPower. Walter’s son Tim Ostoforoff, who works with SaskPower in Regina, presented Kalinowsky with the jersey.

The program concluded with three more numbers performed by the Heritage Choir.