Submission Guidelines

Monday, June 21, 2021

Christmas Time and New Year Celebrations

Ukrainian St. Nicholas
(Svyatyj Mykolai)
Everyone knows what time of year it is when they hear the ever popular song, by American crooner Andy Williams, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Of course it is. It's Christmas time! It's a joyous occasion. This is a time for celebrating the birth of Christ. Families attend church services, and enjoy Christmas supper. It's also a time for singing Christmas carols, attending holiday concerts, shopping, get-togethers, baking and merry-making. Best of all, perhaps, it's the season for receiving or giving gifts. So, if you were nice, Santa Claus will be sure to bring you a present. If you were naughty, then you might not get anything at all!
This tradition dates back to the 4th century when Saint Nicholas of Myra or Nicholas the Wonderworker who showed his love by passing out secret gifts to children and helping the needy. In North America, St. Nick is better known as Santa Claus from the Dutch word
Sinterklaas  or Sint-Nicolaas. He may also be known as Sankt Nikolaus or Nikolaus in German, Saint Nicolas in French, and Sviatyij Mykolai (meaning Saint Nicholas) in Ukrainian, but it is he that gave rise to the North American persona Santa Claus. However, there are folks that still prefer to give gifts on Dec 6 (Gregorian calendar) or Dec 19 (Julian calendar) St. Nicholas Day so as not to take away from the real meaning of Christmas and that is the birth of Christ, and love and peace on earth.

Friday, June 4, 2021

UCCLA to feds: Locate unmarked graves at federal internment sites

UCCLA Media Release: Ottawa (4 June 2021 - For Immediate Release)

 A significant fund was set aside by the federal government this week, providing for indigenous groups to engage in research leading to the location and hallowing of the remains of children who died while at Canada’s residential schools. This is long overdue for our indigenous brothers and sisters. UCCLA applauds the federal government for starting to atone for the forced relocation and suspension of liberties our First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples suffered via that system.

It is a precedent.

Between 1914 and 1920, thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans were branded "enemy aliens," forced to labour for the profit of their jailers, disenfranchised, and subjected to other state-sanctioned censures.

They were victims not only of wartime xenophobia but of pre-war racist prejudices that would persist long after the end of Canada’s first national internment operations. There were 24 camps across Canada where internees were held, including women and children, the latter at Vernon, B.C., and Spirit Lake, Que. (known today as La Ferme, near Amos). 

A cemetery established at Spirit Lake by the federal government holds the remains of 19 internees, including children; the whereabouts of at least one child, Nellie Manko, remain uncertain. Despite repeated requests from the Ukrainian Canadian community for government assistance in securing, restoring, and properly marking this unique historical site, no action has been taken, preferring this cemetery remain forgotten. The site is rapidly deteriorating, and will soon vanish into the Abitibi. This is unacceptable.

Now that a $27-million federal fund is established for our fellow indigenous Canadians to locate, restore, and properly commemorate those places where innocents were buried, the UCCLA is asking federal Heritage Minister, the Hon. Steven Guilbeault, to redress the situation at the Spirit Lake internee cemetery, as well as the situation at other unmarked graves elsewhere. 

The precedent of the June 3 announcement makes federal intervention appropriate, necessary, and urgent.

Commenting, UCCLA’s chairman, Roman Zakaluzny, said:

“We applaud our indigenous brothers and sisters for finally being able to move forward with locating and hallowing their deceased children, victims of the federal government’s residential school system. We hope that Ukrainians Canadians, victims of a federal government forced relocation and internment program, can also do the same.

“On Sunday, June 20 – Father’s Day – Canada will mark the 101st anniversary of the conclusion of the internment operations of Ukrainian and other Europeans that began during the First World War and continued for two years after. Let us not forget the men, but also women and children like Nellie Manko, who to this day remain in unmarked graves at various former federal internment camps across Canada.”

- 30 -

For more information about UCCLA, please email, or visit:
Our Twitter
Our Facebook

PO Box 57022 Somerset West PO, Ottawa, Ont., K1R 6P0

The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (L'Association ukrainienne-canadienne des droits civils) is a non-partisan, voluntary, non-profit research and educational organization committed to the articulation and promotion of the Ukrainian Canadian community's interests and to the defence of the civil liberties and human rights of Ukrainians in Canada and elsewhere.