Situated seven driving hours east of Vancouver, the Doukhobor Discovery Centre occupies a good-looking ensemble of red-bricked buildings flanked by well-tended fields and gnarly apple timber. A white dove emblazoned on the facet of a barn ushered me in, and an indication studying “Toil and Peaceable Life” over the doorway porch prompt an environment of quiet trade inside. Wrapped round a grassy courtyard, a number of rooms of fastidiously curated reveals depicted the Doukhobor’s lengthy journey from Russia to Canada and the tight-knit communal model of residing that was as soon as their hallmark.
Recognized right now in Canada for his or her pacifism, vegetarianism and dulcet Russian-language choirs, the Doukhobors evade neat classification. Some historians level to their similarities with the Quakers and the Mennonites. Others confer with them as proto hippies. Possessors of a powerful work ethic, they’ve lengthy been admired for his or her carpentry and agricultural abilities. When the Canadian authorities was in search of pioneering farmers to settle its rugged inside within the Eighteen Nineties, there have been no higher candidates.
“Probably the most central Doukhobor perception is that the spirit of God dwells inside every residing being,” Dutchak stated. “This tenet lends itself to various Doukhobor non secular beliefs, together with a rejection of non secular icons, an emphasis on equality and collectivity in addition to non-violence and pacifism.
Dutchak was purchased up Catholic, however his grandmother hailed from a Doukhobor group in Saskatchewan. He was drawn to the faith after experiencing one among Castlegar’s Peter’s Day festivals, a celebration of prayer, singing and Russian cooking held each June. “I used to be interested in their concepts about equality and pacifism,” he advised me. “Within the Sixties, the Doukhobors helped organise peace vigils in Canada and so they proceed to say their id via pacificism right now.”
Dutchak went on to study Russian and write a grasp’s thesis on Doukhobor tradition. He began singing in a choir and reconnected along with his Doukhobor roots. “For me, the Doukhobors stay extremely related,” he stated. “They’ve quite a bit to supply modern society.”
Between 1899 and 1938, the Doukhobors thrived in dozens of unbiased agrarian villages in Canada. The Discovery Centre is actually a reconstruction of one among their distinctive self-sufficient communities. Inside, I examined a set of austere dorms, barns filled with outdated farming implements, a wood-fired oven for making bread and several other Rumpelstiltskin-like spinning wheels that have been used to make the distinctive tunics and shawls that Doukhobors nonetheless put on on particular events.