Awareness tour of Ukrainian famine comes to North Battleford

The Holodomor National Awareness Tour will be stopping at North Battleford Comprehensive High School Oct. 11 and 12.

Students and the public will have an opportunity to view the travelling museum featuring a "mobile classroom" with theatre-style seating.

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The tour has been making its way across Manitoba and Saskatchewan this fall to raise awareness of the Soviet-inflicted famine, with stops in Prince Albert and Hafford before it heads to North Battleford Tuesday.

Eighty-four years ago Holodomor, the man-made famine that killed an estimated 2.4 to 7.5 million Ukrainians, began. For many Canadians with Ukrainian roots, awareness of Holodomor — literally translated to "death by hunger" — has been passed on by relatives who witnessed it. Yet, given its massive scale and the reverberating effect it's had on survivors and their descendants, some still feel more can be done to remember the victims.

In 2008, Canada was the first country to officially recognize Holodomor as ethnic genocide of Ukrainians inflicted by the Soviet Union through starvation. Canada's recognition of genocide is a rejection of the claim that the famine was simply a consequence of Soviet re-direction of grain supplies. Since 2008, 24 other nations in addition to Canada have recognized Holodomor as genocide.

The Ukrainian Canadian Cultural Council, whose Battlefords branch helped organize the museum’s stop at local schools, has a goal of integrating this part of Ukrainian history into school curriculums. Paul Kardinal, a Battlefords Ukrainian Canadian Cultural Council member says that until relatively recently, Holodomor has not been "brought to the fore."

He says with this travelling tour, whose stops have often been at schools, more people — in particular younger generations — will learn about this troubling part of world history that affected many Ukrainian-immigrant Canadians.

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