Our pioneer teachers. Saskatchewan One Room School Project provides an online history for current generations to enjoy, preserve, and experience, our historical educational, architectural, and cultural, heritage.
The Country School in Non-English Speaking Communities in Saskatchewan
By Rev. H. Oliver, Ph.D. Principal, Presbyterian Theological College, Saskatoon Vice President Saskatchewan Public Education League
Note by Dr. Oliver -
"This address was delivered before the Saskatchewan
Public Education League in Regina on September 22nd,
1915. Its publication by the League in no means commits
the League to the views expressed therein. The responsi-
bility for the statements rests with the speaker."
Non-English Speaking Communities
PRINCIPAL EDMUND H. OLIVER.
My subject in the CountrySchool in Non-English speaking
communities.From long usage and want I
find that I can best develop my theme and delimit the extent of hopeless
floundering beyond the circumference of my subject, if I choose a text.You will find my text in the Book of the
Department of Education for the year 1913, page 108, last sentence.In discussing the course of study for public
schools the statement is made- “Every effort should be made to furnish the
child with such ideas and trend of action as will assist in making him an
intelligent and patriotic citizen.”I
should have liked to make one or two emendations in this text, but shall confine
my higher critical propensities to one single change – the addition of the word
“language”.Expressed in the baldest
manner possible my theme is-“The citizenship of our country and the interests
of our citizens themselves, both now and in the future, alike demand that every
pupil in this Province shall receive an adequate education and a thorough
knowledge of the English language.”I am
going to make one hypothesis – for which in future I hope to be held guiltless-I
am going to assume that the curriculum of our public schools is not only ideal,
but also - a very different proposition - in spite of its city-made books and
town-trained teachers, peculiarly suited to the needs of country schools.Entirely apart from the question of reforming
the course of study for elementary schools, which is a great matter in itself,
I want to ask, “Do the conditions in the country schools in Non-English
speaking communities in this Province make for good citizenship?”
I claim to speak with some measure of
authority upon the subject of the CountrySchool.I myself am a graduate of that honourable but
unpretentious institution.Of all my
Alma Maters it is the first and dearest.That little red building on the Seventh Concession and the Caledonia
Road did for me more than all other schools,
colleges and universities succeeding in accomplishing.To this day when I want to remember whether
the East is on my left hand or my right when I face the North my mind leaps
across all barriers of distance and time and I find myself a pudgy little
school boy in old Chatham township looking at a superannuated map high above
the blackboard with the words ‘North West Territories’ on the left hand side of
Hudson Bay.It mattered little that our
school was so placed that West on this map was actually East according to the
compass.Every one of us could correct
this by watching the sun set in Tom Cochrane’s bush.The point is that yon old school map fastened
near the ceiling with pulleys and rope which only the teacher and certain older
boys specially designated dared to touch, still determine directions for me in
my life.It is only just to add that in
many respects that humble little school determined for me the directions of my
life.That is why, when I visited it a
year ago I took off my hat when I entered its humble doors.That is why, as the French would say, I
salute with grateful homage, every little school upon these plains.Those little schools are determining the
direction of all future citizenship.
I still look back with reverential awe at
that big dictionary and a wonderful volume called the Gazetteer. In that Golden
Age there were no vacuum cleaners for slates, Nor was our salivary genius
exhausted on slates, as the wads of paper on the ceiling bore ample testimony.
I recall, too, how in arithmetic we wall- papered infinite rooms, everyone with
borders, and always with windows and doors to be allowed for in the
calculation. When we had satisfactorily qualified as mural decorators we began
to locate the exact moment and point when trains would collide. These trains
always travelled from A. to B. and never by any chance went at the same rate of
speed, nor, so far as I ever learned, was there a single instance where the
collision was averted by Ingenuity of operator or bravery of brakeman. I
suppose this equipped me as a Principal of a TheologicalCollege though up to the present I
have never been able to purchase wall paper, nor have I figured in a collision
more serious than the bust-up of Dock Yak's automobile. But I did learn many
marvelous things- the islands of the Baltic Sea, the Provisions of Oxford, the
definition of a preposition, the counties and county towns along everyone of
the lakes which Providence--to plague young school boys-"- had scattered
in such profusion around the edges of the Province of Ontario. 1 knew the names
and sins and the manner of the taking off of Henry VIII's six wives. I could
tell what English statesmen were in the Cabal. I knew which English King had
said, "Will none of the cowards who eat my bread rid me of this turbulent
priest?" I could say the Latin word from which Plantagenet was derived and
the French nickname for Richard 1. I could recite the States of the. American
Union as far West as the Mississippi
and the countries and capitals of Europe as far East as
the Eastern Question-our school map ante- dated the Berlin Treaty. In Grammar I
learned what were meant by Syntax and Prosody. In History I never could re-
member whether Anglicans or Fenians owned the Clergy Reserves, nor understand
why some one did not ascertain whether Calais
actually was written on Queen Mary's heart, nor could I make out why people
bothered about Nova Scotia if it
didn't want to remain in the Confederation.
No Language Problems
There were sixty or more of us in that
school. Not one of us was born more than 3 miles from the school house, except
one little French girl whose parents had come from the adjoining township and.
who spoke English like the rest of us. We were all Scotch and English. With the
same exception we were all Presbyterians and all went to Sunday School. None of
us and for that matter few of our parents had been farther afield than the
nearest market town - 8 miles away.It
was in the post office that social distinctions emerged. Every family took a
newspaper-but a few unregenerates, not many, were Tories,-they had be- longed
to the Established Church and took the Chatham Planet and the Mail and Empire.
One or two of the families had fathers who were elders of the church. My father
was a member of the Township Council. But we were all Canadians as our fathers
before us had been. And as they had been farmers, we too expected, and were
expected to be. So to equip us for our work in life we read city-made books,
were taught by teachers who had been trained in town and studied the chief
products of Brazil
But through every avenue we did learn the English language--for this country
the vehicle of social and commercial intercourse, and we did learn to know each
other, Canadian boys, later to be Canadian men.
Made For Success
Such was the old-fashioned country school.
And we were old fashioned enough to call it a country school. The word 'rural'
didn't reach our neighborhood till long afterwards. Our life was simple, and
the educational problem was simple too. And, I believe, if that breed of good
strong-limbed manly fellows down there growing wheat, corn and sugar beets
constitute an adequate criterion. I believe that the Success of that school was
fairly substantial. I am convinced that the conditions that surrounded that
school made for success. 'And by success I mean no lower standard than the
making of Canadian citizens that were some of those surrounding conditions?
(I)The Canadian background of those children's lives.
(II)A duly qualified teacher also thoroughly Canadian
(III)A continuity of school life and policy at least during
the period of from two to three years, and always throughout the whole of each
(IV)Efficiency of administration on the part of trustees.
I am aware that even in these
respects conditions were not always ideal, but having the subject. which I
have. under consideration in view, I. think. It was
largely these things that differentiated us from the country schools in
Non-English speaking communities in this Province. And one other thing I must ever
forget. That was the free discussion on public matters not always too
enlightened or free from prejudice, but still a discussion unrestrained and
serious on the part of neighbors at threshing times, at the post office, at
school meetings, but most of all in clumps of two or three sitting on the rail
owes much of its public life to the rail fence. It remains to be seen what Saskatchewan
can evolve from barbed wire.
I turn now to the CountrySchool of the Prairies. And may: I
here sound a note of warning. It is easy to disturb the true perspective when
one deals with a special subject. No matter what I have to say by way of
criticism, regarding the administration and conduct of country schools in
Non-English speaking communities on this province,. I want to leave with you
what at least is my own conviction that as compared with the things that have been
done and the things hat ought to have been done and have been left undone, pale
into insignificance. I pay my tribute of respect and gratitude to those who
from the transfer of these Territories from the Hudson's
Bay Company to the Dominion have been our educational leaders. What a theme for
a novelist, the Romance of the PrairiePublic School! And when I shall
state later that it is the function of our Public Schools to make
Canadians,I ask you to remember that
the very existence of Public Schools here in the West is due to a national
Canadian Policy. Without that Canadian policy there had been no transfer of
these Territories to the Dominion. We should still have been under the Hudson's
Bay Company. And under the regime of the Honourable Adventurers, apart from the
churches, there was no educational vision.In March, 1853, a despatch came from the London directors to the council
of Assiniboia disapproving of grants to education totaling for the whole region
west of the Lakes nearly $650, as being a "misapplication of the public
fund." The minutes of Feb. 22
1866, clearly exhibit the attitude of the council itself towards
educational needs-: .
"The President laid before the
Council a petition from the settlers at Point Coupe, to the number of 27,
representing that with a view to the instruction of their children, numbering
as they state, about 60 in all, they had lately built a school house but had
not the means of paying a schoolmaster, and they were therefore, led to
petition the Council for such as as it might be thought fit to afford. The
Council by a majority of votes granted 10 pounds to be payable to the school
master himself. But in granting that sum the Council wished it to be distinctly
understood by all concerned that it would not be continued, being given for the
present year only, and that it was not to be drawn into a precedent. It is a
more splendid record that confronts us after 1870. To the eternal credit of the
settlers be it said that they early addressed themselves to the problem of
providing for the education of the young. Though the buildings were often
crude, the pupils' desks not seldom home-made, and the attendance generally so
small as scarcely to seem to warrant the employment of a teacher yet here and
there on the wide prairies little school-houses rose to bear testimony that the
territorial government kept faith heroically with the settlers and besides
serving as a place of instruction for the young afforded the members of the
tiny communities a gathering place for social intercourse, religious worship
and the transaction of local business.
"As there is no factor in the
national greatness of a country of more importance than its Public Schools, no
more powerful lever to turn the tide of immigration, no more potent agent to
attract the European settler to make a home here, any expenditure that tends to
enlarge and solidify our school system must be most effectual in bringing
settlers from the old World to this vast, undeveloped land.”
This extract from the first annual
report of one of the first inspectors of schools in the North-West Territories
indicated clearly the double motive that has prompted the liberal expenditure
which has ever characterized our educational policies in the West, the desire
not only to afford educational facilities to those already in the country, but
also to attract settlers to the country by the
educational advantages afforded. And those settlers have come, I may add, and I
desire to emphasize, those settlers have come knowing full well that our
schools are to be, if I may again quote from the inspector, "a factor in
the national greatness of this country."
Separate Schools Introduced
The educational clause of the N.W.T.
of 1875 made provision for the existence of separate schools and thus
sanctioning the reproduction in the Territories the system of Ontario
and Quebec. The third petition
presented to the North-West Council had reference to education. The date was March 9, 1877.Moise Ouellette and Pierre Landry desired
school at St. Laurent. It was,
however, not till 1884 that a public school system was established for the
Territories. The scheme provided by the Ordinance August 6th of that year
separate schools constituted an essential element. The erection of school
districts proceeded forthwith. In 1884 four were erected- Moose
Jaw, Qu'Appelle, Prince
Albert and Regina.
The first dozen or more of 1885 were:-Broadview, Kenlis, Edmonton, St.
Andrew's, Colleston, Prince Albert East, Wapella, Moosomin, Saskatoon, Little
Pipestone, Montgomery,St. John, Red
Deer Hill, St. Catharines, Calgary. After the struggle for responsible
government which rendered notable the years 1888-1891, the Territorial
Government in 1892 asserted a fuller control of its educational system-
a) It abolished all special privileges separate schools and provided a uniform
inspection throughout the Territories.
b) It laid down the principle that all schools should be taught in the English
language, but made it “permissible, for board of any district to cause a
primary course to be taught in the French language"
A territorial ordinance of 1901
reaffirmed in general these principles. The educational clause that was adopted
in the Saskatchewan and Alberta Acts of 1905 guarded all rights or privileges
which at the passing of these Acts any class of persons possessed with respect
a) “Separate schools.”
instruction in any public or separate school provided for in chapters 29 and 30
of the Ordinance of 1901.
I shall defer the discussion
of the matter of the French language. I desire at this point simply to indicate
the magnificent development of our school system. Statistics are usually dry
and not infrequently unreliable. But the school statistics of the prairies
constitute an epic. In 1884 there were four school districts; in 1894, 300; in
1904, 917. All this in the N.W.Territories.
In 1905 on the creation of the Provinces there were in the Territories 1459
regularly formed school districts: 702 in Assiniboia, 551 in, Alberta
and :l06 in Saskatchewan. In the
Province of Saskatchewan alone on Dec. 31, 1913, there were 3,214 Public
School, 15 R.C. Separate School and 2 Protestant Separate School
Districts.To have erected a new school
district every school day during the first decade of our existence is no mean
record. Today we have enrolled in our public and separate schools well over
100,000 pupils, with about three-fifths of these in country schools. It is my
conviction that these schools do contribute in a way that we can scarcely hope
to measure to an end we all fondly cherish-the making of Canadian citizens.
Before proceeding to make an
analysis of certain conditions in at least some non- English speaking
communities I wish to make three observations:
(1) If we desire to reform or amend conditions which it may be found necessary
to reform or amend it will be necessary for us to approach the whole subject in
the proper temper for reform. It is light,
not heat, that we are seeking to generate. We must rise to a national
view-point, not sink to the level of political partisanship. The task that
confronts us is big enough to require the cooperation of all parties, and, I am
free to admit, a common policy on the part of more than one Province. I t is a
time neither for recrimination for the past nor for concealment in the present.
I beg, therefore, to urge upon the members of this committee that their first
duty is not propaganda. It is investigation and study.
(2) The problem that confronts us is one that involves almost the dearest
possession of a man's life, his language; and. I fear, the question is not
entirely free from religious associations. Let us
in our discussions not seek to wound. But let us also remember that the greatest
wound of all would be a wound to Canada,
her national life. We are citizens of no mean country, Let us seek her good.
Let us approach this language question with an eye single to the good of the
future Canadian Citizenship of this Province.
(3) The solution of some of our difficulties cannot wait. Even while I speak
the trenches of Europe are crimson with blood of our own
kin. When the cannon's roar is silenced there will come to pass a new Europe
and a new Canada.
Europe with war-debts, with crippled and disorganized
industries will not be the Europe that but yesterday
flaunted the glories of its riches in the face of all the world. If we had a
flood of immigration before when Clifford Sifton opened up the sluice gates,
now will come an avalanche. The Kaiser will have proved himself to be the best
immigration agent Canada
ever had. What saved the situation in the years that followed 1897? It was the
work accomplished in the Territories in the years 1884-1892 and carried for-
ward in the subsequent decade-the organization of our school system, the
building of railways, the establishment of judicial arrangements, the crushing
of the uprising of 1885 that told the world that this was to be a white man's
country, and, above all the gaining of responsible government. There is one
issue that remains. Are we to be a homogeneous people on these plains or are we
to repeat the tragic sufferings of polyglot Austria?
This question must be solved in our elementary schools. And we must solve it
now. A few years and it may be too late.
CONDITIONS IN SASKATCHEWAN.
I SHALL now seek to place before
you, certain conditions that obtain in various portions ofthis Province.
(1) The Mennonites-In this Province there are 3 chief kinds of
(a)The Old Colonier.
(b)The Bergthaler Gemeinde
(c)The Conferenz Gemeinde.
Only the first of these constitute an educational problem, the adherents of
Bishop Wienz, of Neuanlage near Hague, and of Bishop Wiebe, of Springfeld near
Swift Current. In discussing their relation to the public schools we must bear
(1) Their claim that the Dominion Government, prior to their coming to Manitoba
in 1874 promisedthem their own type of
(2) Some progress has been made in establishing school districts among them,
notably at Wymark.
adherence to their schools and their language implies no hostility to the
Government as such. It is a matter of religious principle. "I
believe," Bishop Wienz said to me, "that the church stays better
together when our people know simply one language. We are not against the
Government. We pray continually for the Government. Some of our brethern are in
school districts. If they are too poor to pay their taxes the rest of us help."
(4) Since the Government investigation into a case of excommunication for
sending children to public school they seem not to have practised
excommunication for this purpose.
(5) The Newer Mennonites show a high appreciation of education.
In the neighborhood of Warman and Hague there are the following 17 villages
each with its private school:
The first group represents upon a
conservative estimate a school population between the ages of 6 and 13 totaling
500; the second group, represents 300. That is to say in these two groups we
have 800 school children attending school about which the Government knows
nothing officially and in which from one year's end to another's, not one
single word of English is ever taught. Not a single teacher knows English well
enough to teach if he would. Not a single teacher among the 32 possesses any
professional qualifications whatever. One of the brightest and best of these
me that none of them were capable of handling a school. I visited 13 of these
schools. All have the same type of backless seats, the same dazzling light
pouring into pupils' eyes from left, right and front, the same absence of maps,
pictures and charts. Some have a blackboard 3 feet by 4 feet. One even has two,
but some have none. All the pupils pass' through the same 4 grades:
1. A. B. C.
3. New Testament.
4. Old Testament.
In the forenoon they sing and say their prayers, then study Bible History and
practice reading. This consumes the morning hours from 8.30 to 11.30. For 3
hours in the afternoon they work at arithmetic and writing. Ii is simple, fare,
but is all the teacher himself has ever received. Frequently he does not know
even Hoch Deutsch well enough for conversation. So through seven years they go
from October 15th to seeding and again for one month in summer ignorant of the
fates of Canadian history, un- touched by the loftiness of Canadian ideals and
taught that the English language will only make it easier to lapse into the
great world of sin outside the Mennonite communities.
Salaries Not Princely
The salaries of the teachers are not
princely.I shall give you a few
examples.He always receives a free
house and if all the teachers are like John Andreas, master pedagogue of Neuanlage
and father of eleven children, they need not only a free house, but a big
house.In Ostervich the teacher receives
$200; in Kronstahl $100 and some grain; in Blumenheim $30 a month' for 6 months
and 100 bushels of oats; in Gruenthal 60 bushel of wheat, 60 bushels of oats,
60 bushels of barley and $80 for the year; in Neuanlage $30 a month, free fuel,
free tuition for his own children, and a load of hay from each farmer; in
Blumenthal $30 a month, 20 loads of hay and 100 bushels of oats; in Hochfeld which
boasts 2 teachers, the principal has free hay, free fuel and $50 per month, but
has to pay his assistant $20 per month; in Grenfeld $25 to $30per month and 8 load of hay. In the summer
the teacher is expected to farm or work out. One has risen to the eminence of
being a road boss. Several go with threshing outfits. Nearly all are married
and live in one end of the school house.
In Reinland, last year, they had a teacher
belonging to the newer type of Mennonites. He was found to be too progressive
and was dismissed. In Gruenthal they have, had the same teacher for 8 years. He
had received no special training. He could understand English a little but
could not speak it. In Rosenfeld the entire village is made up of fathers and sons
and sons-in-law and their respective families. The patriarch of that community
is its teacher. His daughter-in- law said she thought he was paid a salary.
'Not all the schools have yards. The ventilation in all but Hochfeld and
Chortitz leaves much to be desired. The heating system roasts the little ones
near the stove and freezes the larger ones near the windows. Some of the
schools are painted and clean, others are unkempt and far from tidy.
I enquired of. a farmer at Hochfeld how the cost of maintaining their school
was apportioned among them. I was informed that half of the teacher's salary
was divided among the farmers at a rate per quarter section. The other half was
divided on the basis of the number of children sent to school. Last year he
paid $17.00. Farmers in an adjoining school district paid $23.
The Unorganised District
. The outstanding fact is that here in two communities we have 800 sch061
children between the ages of 6 and 13 who are receiving what no stretch of
imagination can designate as an adequate education, who are learning nothing of
our literature, our history or our language. Before I ask the question whether
this can be allowed to continue, I want to explain how it has been allowed to
exist. As I understand our educational system the Government takes cognizance
only of organized school districts. It was never contemplated .that people
would deliberately elect to remain outside of school districts and conspire
toremain unorganized. It seems to be
necessary for the residents of the locality to take the initiative. The
Mennonites have simply refrained from organizing into school districts, and,
unless he is so unfortunate as. to be included in a school district which
others are organizing, no Mennonite pays school taxes. Ii is the device of the
unorganized district that is responsible. Fellow citizens, keep your eye on
the unorganized district. It covers more than one irregularity.I now ask the question, Can this state of
things be allowed to continue?, This raises a more far-reaching question-What
is the function of a school? I venture to state that the function of our
schools must not be to make Mennonites, nor Protestants, nor Roman Catholics,
but Canadian citizens. If we accept this, then a more insistent issue is raised
- of whom have we as a Province the right to expect that they shall allow their
children to receive a training adequate for Canadian citizenship? I say,
"Of all without exception." And I say with every emphasis that 800
children near Saskatoon and Swift
Current are not receiving it. What could be done immediately? I asked that
question of an intelligent Mennonite who had come out from the Old Colonier.
His response was: "Leave them with their school buildings for the present.
Insist first upon their hiring teachers with Saskatchewan
qualifications 'and upon the teaching of English. Do that for
the sake of
the children." I leave his reply for your consideration. It contains much
I also visited some schools in
French speaking districts. In the time at my disposal this morning I shall not
be able to go into full details. I cannot say how prevalent throughout this
province is the condition to which I shall refer. It will be sufficient if I
allude to one single feature of one afternoon's visit made on the afternoon of
August 31st to the schools of Grierson and St. Denis, south of the town of Vonda.
I visited Grierson at , and
was at St. Denis from to At Grierson the teacher was speaking
French as I entered, all the pupils had French books lying on their desks and
the teacher told me he was teaching French. At St. Denis the teacher was
speaking French as I entered, all the pupils had French books lying on their
desks and the teacher continued to speak and use French during the
three-quarters of an hour I visited the school. This teacher had had
considerable experience in Manitoba
and remarked that she understood that conditions regarding bilingual schools
were the same in this province as in Manitoba.
She told me that she had to use French altogether in the first 3 grades. She
taught English to the other grades in which of course there were scarcely any
pupils in the morning. She taught only
French in the afternoon. I found that there was the greatest difficulty on the
part of the more grown up pupils in speaking English. This teacher had a third
class Manitoba certificate, but
had not as yet for this Province a provisional permit. I want to do ample
justice to both these teachers. They both impressed me as being bright and
capable. In both schools there was the most perfect order: They both received
me courteously. They both spoke English perfectly, much better for instance,
than in the case of another teacher whom I visited the same afternoon. The
issue is clear. At a time when the whole matter of our educational system is
under discussion, do we can": template the continuance of conditions such
as I have described. In the future is it going to be possible to teach French
altogether in the primary grades and French only throughout the afternoon. My
own conviction is that this question merges into a still larger question'-Are
we going to contemplate having our children leave the public schools with an:
inadequate knowledge of the English language? Personally I have nothing but
admiration, and even envy, for the person who can speak French as well as
English. But in this west I have nothing but pity and commiseration for the
youth who will seek to enter into the active duties of citizenship without an adequate
acquaintance with English.
A Peculiar Position
I am aware
that many contend that in this Province French occupies a position different to
that of German or Ruthenian. Those who support this view rest their case upon
the following considerations:
(a) The historical past.
(b) The Ordinances of 1892 and 1901.
Regulations of the Department of Education.
(d) The ruling of the Attorney-General's Department.
Even if these, separately or together
constituted a complete justification for the special treatment of French-an
admission which I am far from making--we must remember that the wording of
Premier Scott's invitation to suggest reforms is very broad and unrestricted.
As I understand that invitation, and we thank him for it, that invitation
means-"The Government will consider seriously any suggested reform,
provided that such reform is within its competence." Now in the matter of
education its competence is very wide. The only restrictions laid upon the
Government are laid by Sec. 17 of the Saskatchewan Act. These relate directly
to separate schools and religious instructions, with neither of which have I
anything whatever to do in this present matter.If Premier Scott's invitation means anything – and I have every
confidence that it does – it means that the stion of languages, not excluding
the French, in our schools should come under review.
I see no barrier against considering the
matter de novo.There is no historical
for French in this province.I am sure
that there were French traders, and at an early date French settlers.But we have no French regime to consider as Eastern
Canada.There were no
educational rights of the French to conserve these territories in 1870.I know that move was soon put on foot to
secure a school at St. Laurent.I know that more than one church was vitally
interested in education, particularly of the Indians.My point is that our whole educational
policy, apart form the Saskatchewan Act of 1905, Section 17, is entirely
without …gs of any kind, and even with that there is nothing that would tie us
up in any language other than English.
French has never been an official language in
the Territories nor in Saskatchewan.
The nearest approach to French being
organized as such that I have been able to discover is in a minute passed by
the Old North West Council at Fort Garry on 1873 – “A committee consisting of
the Hon. Messrs. Hamilton and Ban.. and Mr. Urquhart the Clerk of the Council
was appointed with directions to see that all Acts of Council, etc, shall be
published in the English, French and Cree languages.”French then occupies the same position as
Cree.And if the treatment from the
historical past be …rted to, however strong a case you make out for French, a
still stronger case can be made out for Cree.If anyone learns that French antedated the English of Hudson Bay, it is
easy to prove that Cree antedated both.The argument from the historical past thus becomes reduced to an
Ordinances of 1892 and 1901 together with the regulations of the Department of
Education have been the determinative factors in the situation.The relative sections of the Ordinance of
1901 are as follows:
(1)Section 136 – “All schools
shall be taught in the English language, but if shall be permissible for the
board of any District to cause a primary course to be taught in the French
(2)The Board of any district may subject to the
regulations of the Department, employ one or more competent persons to give
instructions in any language other than English in the school of the District
to all pupils whose parents or guardians have signified a willingness that they
should receive the same, but such course of instruction shall not supersede or
in any way interfere with the instructions by the teacher in charge of the
school as required by the regulations of the Department of this Ordinance.
(3)The Board shall have power to raise such sums of money
as may be necessary to pay the salaries of such instructors, and pay all costs,
charges and expenses of such course of instruction shall be collected by the
Board by a special rate to be imposed upon the parents or guardians of such
pupils as take advantage of the same.”I
understand that the Attorey-General’s department has ruled that the instruction
in French provided for by this Ordinance is not subject to the regulations of
the Department of Education.
Let us then
briefly sum up the situation in regard to French in our elementary schools:
French language does occupy a privileged position in our elementary schools as
compared with other non-English languages.
it occupies such a position is due entirely to Legislative enactments on the
part of Territorial and Provincial Assemblies, and to departmental regulations.
is should or should not continue to occupy a privileged position remains with
the Legislative Assembly and the people of this province to decide, for the
Saskatchewan Act of 1905 placed no restriction upon our competence to deal with
the language question.
is being taught in at least some schools in the Province
of Saskatchewan to the detriment of
a knowledge of the English language.
week of August 23rd, I visited a number of schools in the, neighborhood of
Humboldt. Let me conduct you through a day's visitation; First you visit the
office of the secretary-
Note1. It is the case, of course, that both the
Ordinances and the Gazette were for a time printed in French as well as in
English. But early in the nineties Premier Haultain, in spite of certain
representations from Ottawa dropped
the practice as entailing an unjustifiable and unnecessary expenditure of
treasurer of the municipality and ask to be shown a map of the school districts.
When you have examined this you will notice some miles north of the town a
considerable area not formed into school districts. You naturally enquire,
"What is the reason they have no school districts here? Do they not want
schools?" "Oh, yes!" comes the reply, "they have private
schools out there." This promises to be an interesting scent and you
proceed to the livery barn and convince the owner thereof that at the end of
the day you will furnish him $5.00 out of your privy purse provided he drives you
to Fulda, St. Michael's, St. John's Wilmont and St. Henry. For you are anxious
to see St. Henry too. It is marked on the map as a school district. Why did
they want a school when the others did not? ' You drive north, say 15 or 16
miles, and reach Fulda. It is
rather a fine looking school beside a church. On the school is a cross. 'You
enter and are greeted by the school- mistress. She impressed me as being an
exceedingly capable woman, and I think she must be a splendid teacher. She has
been there 4 years. She teaches Ger man every morning, except for arithmetic.
There are 35 on the roll, all German save two, who are English. Most of them
must have been present: Her programme is German in the morning, English in the
afternoon. Her home is in Wisconsin.
She had been appointed by the trustees and the pastor.I enquire, "Why is there, not an
organized school district here?”"This district was organised as Epsom, but the parish beat out and
organised a parish school.'" And so there exists a private school teaching
German one half of the day. It is the same story 3 miles north at St.
Michael's-50 children studying German in the morning, English in the afternoon,
with the residents taxing themselves $10.00 a quarter section. A German with
whom I had dinner informed me that there were certain advantages in a private
(1) They didn't need to pay the teacher so much.
could have school just when they wanted it, and were subject to no regulations
(3) They could teach German all.morning.
Three miles west is St.
John's Wilmont. The teacher is from Minnesota.
In this school English is taught in the morning, German in the afternoon. The
English books used are the Sadlier Books in the Dominion Catholic Series. This
school has 42 on the roll. I asked how far it was to Humboldt. The teacher
repeated the question to one of the larger pupils,- "Zwanzig Meilen!"
came the answer- for their language and outlook are Ger- man. Then late in the
afternoon I struck east to St. Henry. I wanted to see why they have insisted
upon having a public school. You can see the little school as you drive along
the road. The flag-pole which with its fluttering ensign makes silent conquest
of Non-English communities in other districts and wins to Canadian citizenship
stood piteously deserted, and bent. The fence was dilapidated, the yard
overgrown with weeds. One half mile up the road was a little store and across
the road Dead Moose Lake parish school, a fine imposing new structure with, I
understand, German speaking teachers, and, recently added, one that cou1d speak
English. "How is it," I enquired of the grocer, "that you have
two schools?" "We have only one school," he replied. "What
about the public school down the road?" "We just gave up using it and
sent in word to the secretary-treasurer of the municipality not to collect any
taxes." In a word, Mr. Chairman, these good people deorganise a school
district and in the very same place erect a private school which inspectors may
not enter, and to which regulations regarding language do not extend.
Private schools in unorganised districts need to be investigated. Ives 3594 was
a private school up to the end of 1914.' Last year they had a young girl with
grade 8 for teacher-the best teacher they ever had. Down at St. Gregor, now at-
tended from 3196, running now a year as a public school, and from 3163, running
now a couple of months, they had a private school for years. The result is that
one who is in a position to know declares that the children there are in many
case crippled for life. I would not have you believe that this is simply a matter of,
religion. I understand, for instance, that the priest at Annaheim came out flatly
against establishing private schools in all his territory. And though I do not
know him I want to pay him my meed of respect. That whole north country beyond
Muenster and Humboldt would have been dotted with private schools teaching
German. It is a narrow, nationalist ideal against which we surely must set
ourselves. Under the compulsory clause Ruthenian organisers step in where no
schools exist. Is there no machinery for , dealing with cases where Germans
conspire not to organise school districts in order to evade the law?
I have no idea how many of these
private schools exist in the Province. I have indicated that there are 15 at
Swift Current, 17 at Warman. Near Humboldt there are Muenster, Fulda,
Michael's, St. John's Wilmont, DeadMooseLake,
Bonne ma Donne, Bruno, Leofeld, Bremen.
I understand, that there are others at Duval, Langenburg, Rhein and at Southey.
If this should be correct, though I am in three or four cases subject to
correction.It would mean that there are at least 45
private schools and possibly 1,200 school children not under the Department of
Education and treating German rather than English as their language of
instruction. In over two thirds of these not a single word of English is even
A NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING MUNICIPALITY
I DESIRE to draw your attention to a
in North Eastern Saskatchewan. It has a population of about 5,000, with only
one village within its borders. The village contains about 150 souls. The
population consists of Bukovinians and Galicians or Ruthenians, Community and
Independent Doukhobors, Poles, English and German with one or two other
nationalities only slightly represented. Far the greater part of the
municipality has been settled from about 13 to 17 years; although the majority
of the English-speaking residents came from
to 9 years ago. Fully three-quarters of the quarter sections .are occupied by
resident owners; As one proceeds from the extreme southeast of the municipality
it is possible to detect a general improvement in housing, in land, stock,
roads, general equipment and amount of acreage broken.
Out of 100 families that I examined
I found that the nationalities of the heads o f the household were:-Bukovinian
53; Galician (Ruthenian) 24; Polish 14; Doukhobor 5; English 3; Roumanian 1. Of
the.heads of households, 20 could speak English fairly and 40 others just a
little, wives fairly and 9 just a little; 58 children, apart from the 3 English
families, could speak with varying degrees of proficiency. Of the heads of
households 9 could read English fairly, and 10 just 11 little; 5 wives could
read English a little; and 59 children with varying degrees of proficiency. Of
the heads of households 63 could read their native tongue; as also could 36
wives and 61 children. Of the 100 families, 35 took no newspapers whatever; 30
took the Canadian Ruthenian; 15 the Canadian Farmer; 13 the Ranok;
11 the Ukrainian Voice; 10 the Catholic Gazette; 3 the Syuz; 3 the Amerika; 3
took English papers; 1 took another Polish paper; and 1 a Roumanian paper.
Among these families I found 5 had organs, 1 had a violin, 3 had phonographs,
and 15 had pictures other than calendars on the walls. Scarcely any had
received visits during the past year from priests, teachers or doctors. No less
than 96 had gardens,
94 had chickens, 18 had ducks, 13 had geese, and 9 had turkeys. The farms were
mostly all quarter sections-all but 12. Only about one-third of the land was
broken. On the average about 10 acres were under wheat, the balance was usually
oats, though 9 had barley in extent from one to 12 acres. Practically all had
sufficient implements while 6 had threshing outfits. Until the importation of
high grade stock this last summer no pure bred stock existed within the
municipality There are only 40 English ratepayers resident within the
municipality. Yet out of a council of 7 the Reeve and 2 councillors are
English, 3 are Ruthenian 1 is Polish. The agricultural secretary and secretary
treasurer are English. The English minority control only by playing on the
inter-racial jealousies of others, and retain that control by devices which
depend upon the ignorance of the non-English. It is impossible to secure
continuous policies under the conditions under which self-government
obtains.Within the municipality is
found one Grain Growers' Association with about a score of members. There
exists no newspaper, no nurse, no veterinary surgeon, no doctor, no Protestant
church, no co-operative elevator, no practicing lawyer, no homemakers' club, no
hospital, no creamery, no printing establishment.
and practically no telephones. Though two lines of railway run through the
territory, a main and branch line, only one station agent and one bank are
located in this district. One Polish arid one Greek
priest are resident within the bounds of the municipality. One hotel and one
eating house provide accommodation for the traveller. There are six villages,
and five groups of community Doukhobors and three villages of Independent Doukhobors.
The problem that confronts us in. this municipality is that of Canadianisng the
Doukhobors and Ruthenians. Let us first briefly compare these peoples. Both,
are Slavs. The Doukhobors came heralded from afar and feted from Halifax
to Winnipeg; the Ruthenian came,
only he himself knows how. In an economic sense both can be said to have
succeeded. As one finds them the Doukhobor is personally clean, the Ruthenians
and Bukovinians stand in greater need of the bath and of ventilation. The
Ruthenian is an intense individualist. . Of the Doukhobours there are two
classes, the Community Doukhobors whose communities exhibit plain signs of
disintegrating,and the "Independent Doukhobors, good farmers and
energetic, but in a certain proneness to drinking and slickness showmg evidence
of the removal of moral restraints. At the present moment the Community
Doukhobor is no political force, but the Ruthenian is of tremendous
significance. The Ruthenian and Bukovinian remember the government from which
theysecured their land patents, and the
asso- ciation in their own land of the word "Liberal" and are
therefore, as a political candidate chuckled to me; "naturally
Liberal." The Ruthenian regards every office holder as a grafter, the
Bukovinian is less suspicious, the Independent Doukhobors more reckless. The
Independent Doukhobors won't co-operate readily, the Bukovinian and Ruthenian
are suspicious and jealous. Wherein lies the hope of Canadianising these
people? I say with great solemnity that the churches, apart from a hospital
which one denomination has equipped, have made no contribution towards their
Canadianisation in the district where I studied. Only three families read
Canadian newspapers in English. The Ruthenian newspapers have, in general, been
pronouncedly nationalist in tone, and, I am informed by one who knows the
Ruthenians of this province better than any other man, a Ruthenian paper could
not exist without being strongly nationalist. In fact cine of the best known of
the Ruthenian papers had to be sold to
Ruthehians not long since because any other paper kept insisting that it itself
was more purely nationalist and was not controlled by "French
hirelings." There is no hope of Canadianising these people through the
papers which most of them read.The hope
of Canadianising these people lies in the public school. Within the
municipality under consideration there are 17 public schools, of which 14 are
summer schools. The work of Canadianising is evidently not a work for the
winter. Of 10 schools for which information was obtainable, the school
enrollment was 436, made up as follows:-
In several cases there were no schools for
nearly a decade after settlement. At the present moment no school whatever is
attended by any of the Community Doukhobors. Among the results which I secured
from my investigations were the following:-
1.) In 8 out of 14 summer schools the teachers are Ruthenian.
2.) In the schools where teachers are. Ruthenians, Ruthenian is frequently
taught the last period of the day, though there is now no provision in the law
for this practice.
schools have pupils only in the first, three grades.
4.) In the earlier grades at least some teachers use Ruthenian as a medium to
5.) In schools where the teacher is English there is evidence of greater
advance being made by pupils in the mastery of the English language.
6.) The Ruthenian teachers have seldom the qualifications that would fit them
to teach in other schools in the province.
7.) In the Canora Inspectorate there are 25 Ruthenian teachers whom the
inspector grades as follows:
Community Doukhobors are opposed to schools. and the Independent Doukhobours
are indifferent. The parents of all are inclined to keep their children home
somewhat too readily to assist in the work of the farm;
9.) The school building and its equipment are generally good.
10.) The difficulty of securing accommodation for the teacher has made it
necessary to erect shacks in connection with six schools visited.
11.)The official trustee secures greater efficiency in
school and equipment and also honesty and economy in administration.
12.)In one school last year the number on the roll was 12,
the average attendance 8.The trustees
returned this year were all English.They appointed the teacher truant officer.He proceeded to enforce the law and had an
arrest made.The result is an average
attendance this year of 47, and the number on the roll now 59, made up as
gardens through the efforts of the agricultural secretary and the teachers have
proved very successful in stimulating the interest of pupils and teachers.This agricultural secretary appointed for
1915 engaged in the following activities:
(a)Promotion of school gardening.
(b)Stamping out of contagious diseases.
(c)Fostering of co-operative buying.
(e)Arranging addresses on Better Farming.
(f)Organisation of Municipal Fair for children.
(g)Arranging to take boys to the Provincial Competition, Regina.
The work of this
agricultural secretary and of the teachers-especially the school gardens, the
sports, and the municipal fair-apart from the direct teaching of English, was
the most hopeful signs of progress being made towards Canadianising the people
of the municipality.There were manifest
two defects in the position of the Agriculture secretary:
1.The combination of
the coercive with the educative. The official who is trying to win to Better
Farming and to stimulate school gardening should not be placed to have in
charge weed control
2.Insecure tenure of office owing to
predominance of non-English on council.
Before concluding our discussion of the CountrySchool in non-English speaking
communities, I should
like to make certain observations regarding
the Doukhobor problem and then to direct your attention to the pressing
character of the problem of educating the Ruthenians.
The independent Doukhobors have begun to
send their children to school.They have
thrown off internationalism, communism and vegetarianism.They are in an attitude to learn Canadian
ideals and to take on a Canadian outlook.They need no special treatment beyond the constant pressure of the
educational authorities to see that their children are kept at school.
It is the Community Doukhobors who
constitute the educational problem.In
this connection we should bear in mind the following conditions.
Before the arrival of Peter Verigin
some at least did send their children to schools.
The Doukhobors are peculiarly apt at
making almost anything with their hands.This may have arisen from the Russian custom of sending every
peasant to learn some trade during half the year.Something in the nature of a manual
labor department might be a commencement towards solving the problem.
The Doukhobors are very observant of natural
phenomena, and, though those in the community are poor farmers, they are
splendid gardeners.If only for the
Doukhobr women, who are the gardeners among them, I believe that the
school garden might be found an avenue of contact.
The Doukhobors do appreciate the
value of training-“The system of education among the Doukhobors,” writes
Elkington,”is simple and uniform.As soon as the child begins to speak and understand, his parents
begin verbally to teach him prayers and psalms, and to tell him something
out of the Scriptures; and they thus continue to instruct their children
in Christian doctrine.These little
Doukhobors very early accompany their elders to the gatherings for
religious expression, where they take their part in reciting such prayers
and psalms as they have learned.Owing to such education, which also embraces teaching some useful
way of working with their hands, the spirit of parents passes by degrees
into the children.”And Alymer
Maude thus writes-“With reference to their children I think anyone who has
seen how obedient, considerate and quick to be of use the Doukhobor
children usually are, will be inclined to admit that most of us have much
to learn from these people on the subject of education.Even regarding instruction proper, their
knowledge of agriculture and of useful handicrafts, coupled with a serious
attention to religion as a guide to daily life, are more likely to help
them live useful and happy lives than any knowledge of vulgar fractions or
of the eccentricities of English orthography.”
For a century the Doukhobors suffered
persecution and even martyrdom for conscience sake at the hands of
rulers.One of the reasons why they
have disintegrated is that they have not suffered persecution in this country.The Doukhobor believes he is discharging
some form of torture.Coercion as a
policy might tend merely to delay the disintegrating forces.
Although Communism is of recent
origin, yet the Mir or village group is a unique Slavonic institution of
great antiquity.And some light
might be shed on the problem if it could be ascertained how schools were
introduced into the Russian Mir.
What then is to be done with the
Community Doukhobor? I shall not venture to say.But I do venture to say we cannot continue to
have 1100 people in northeastern Saskatchewan
flouting Canadian ideals and institutions.Their customs have become their conscience.In this particular case, I do not believe
that their conscience, unless indeed their conscience and Peter Verigin, are to
be taken as synonumous, has given rise to their attitude towards the
schools.With the introduction of
schools goes Peter Verigin’s influence, and though there are some phases of
that influence that are not without benefit to the Doukhobors, it is this
convictions that leads me to urge the Government to act with firm
sympathy.With sympathy, of course, but
I insist, with firmness too.Their
children will rise and call us blessed.
There are, I believe, about 60,000 Ruthenians
in this Province, or roughly speaking on in very 12 of our population.There are 200 schools in which the Ruthenians
form the majority, and of these between 75 and 80 are taught by Ruthenians
themselves.Of the teachers 5 are from ManitobaCollege, 2 are from the University
of Saskatchewan, about 60 from the
training school at Regina, and the
rest from other places.About 4 in all
have second class, non-professional certificates, and only 2 have professional
certificates.During the last three
years, there has been a distinct improvement in the use of the English language
as a means of teaching English as a means of teachingEnglish in the primary grades.But a considerable number, say from 1-5 to
1-4 use Ruthenian as a means of teaching English in the primary grades.And generally Ruthenian is taught the last
period of the school day, though the law at present makes no provision for such
Ruthenians are now serving as school
trustees, not always with distinction.They are Councillors of Rural Municipalities.They have special supervisors and organizers
for their schools.One of their number
was recently elected a member of the Manitoba Legislature.They are intensely interested in politics.
Their newspapers are strongly nationalistic Ukrainian in tone.For the moment, owing to the war, the
Ukrainian movement hides its head.But
it is here, and must be grappled with.A
year or two ago, the Ruthenian teachers of Manitoba
convened in Winnipeg passed the
Ruthenians, the whole body of Ruthenian-English teachers in the Province
of Manitoba are in heartiest
sympathy with the bi-lingual system of schools and we consider it our sacred
duty to champion our natural rights to our mother tongue and we will always
hold the position that our language should be taught in our schools with
English.”About the same time the
Ruthenian bishop in addressing a German convention declared:-“ For us
foreign-born Canadians it is of the utmost importance that we do not slide away
too fast from old traditions and especially it is necessary to guard the
language.Experience has taught us that
the mother-tongue is the one in which the children should be taught religion.If we do not keep our nationality we are
traitors to the new land.
The Ruthenian has had an unhappy
history.They are an offshoot of the
Little Russians of the Ukraine, and together with them were known as Russians
when those to whom today we give that name were callen simply Muscovites. To
them belongs. Kiev, the cradle of
early Russian Christianity. From them even the Muscovites received their
earliest .civilization. The Little Russians are a brave race, brave and
independent. When all Eastern and Middle Europe trembled before the advance of
the Turkish hordes they sped their little flat-bottomed boats down their loved Dnieper
to the Black Sea and ravaged the coast towns of the
.dread Turks. They have stood for liberty. While the Slavs of the north, the
Great Russians have exhibited a tendency to aggregation and national unity, the
Little Russians of the Ukraine
have exhibited a tendency to dispersion and independence. T. Hart Davies has
translated for us the Confession of Nalevaiko, a chief of the Ukraine,
by Rylaef- -
not with threats my soul to shake,
words no change can make,
For hell to
me is to have viewed
My loved Ukraine
To see my
fatherland set free
alone, is heaven for me."
In 1654 all Little Russia under its
1eader, Bogdan Chmelnitski~ submitted to the Tsar Alexis. (Sienkiewicz
describes this in With Fire and Sword).
All Little Russia, but not all Little Russians. There are Little Russians today
that are not of Little Russia or the Ukraine.
They are the Ruthenians of Galicia, Bukowina and districts in the north east of
Ruthenian of Galicia!
For centuries now you have not belonged to yourself. Russia
has had you. Poland
has had you. Austria
has had you. For the second time since the war began Lemberg has fallen. During
the past year Russia
held you and now, devastated by war, Austria
or the Teutonic Alliance has once more its grip of you. You have rarely known
the joys of peace. Placed in the middle of Europe between
countries that have for centuries picked quarrels with each other, it has been
your fate to be In the thick of it. What does western Europe not owe you and
your little brother of the Ukraine!
For centuries, you were the quickset hedge between Asia
and Europe beating back the wild hordes of Mongols. You
bore devastation while other more fortunate nations beyond that living hedge
developed and prospered. The Ruthenians are among the poorest and most backward
of the Austro-Hungarian races. Very few indeed have risen above the ranks of
the peasantry.Both politically and
economically they are under an alien yoke. The feudal principalities which they
constitute fell to Lithuania.
This in turn passed to Poland.
At the partition of Poland
in 1772 they passed to Austria.
It is the same with economic relations, a story of subjection. .
In Galicia the
vast majority of the land owners, of the middle and upper classes, are Poles.
By these the Ruthenians have been as thoroughly despised and feared as they
have been systematically plundered and oppressed by the Jews. The poverty of
the Ruthenians has been largely due to the extreme subdivision of their
holdings, their want of education and the dominating and domineering policy of
They Love Their Language
Their language the Ruthenians have always regarded as their treasure. It was
the attempt on the part of the Poles to extirpate their language that threw the
Little Russians in the arms of the Muscovite Tsar. Although they form nearly
half the population of Galicia
and Bukowinia instruction in the schools has rarely been obtainable except through
the hated Polish language. The matter of language has constituted a difficult
problem for Austria.
She has been under the constant necessity of trimming between her races.
Sometimes this operates to the advantage of the Ruthenians, but this has
happened but seldom. It occurred, however, in 1840 when the Poles were in
violent opposition to the Government; The government began to favor the
Ruthenians and actually introduced Ruthenian into the primary schools in place
of Polish. They even published at Vienna
a series of text books and a newspaper in Ruthenian. The Ruthenian deputies who
came up in their peasants’ dress to vote unanimously for the government were
greatly feted. This lasted till the Ruthenians acquired a taste for reading
books other than the text books prescribed, especially books from across the
Russian frontiers. There was a prompt return to the old repressive methods. The
Cyrillian alphabet was prohibited and all Ruthenian books were issued with the
The Ruthenian has been constantly
despoiled in his own home and exploited in his own country. In his breast were
planted the seeds of economic and social discontent. When the story of the new
lands across the sea, lands of fresh hope and splendid opportunities, reached
his ears he was ready to respond.
Migration to United States
It was in 1879-80 that the Slav migration
to the United States
commenced.From the slopes of the Carpathian
mountains they came at the call of the coal companies and iron
masters of Pennsylvania.The movement continued till now more than
one-half million Ruthenians are in the United
States.The mostinteresting features of the Ruthenians settlement in the United
Apostolic letter Ea Semper which
defined the general constitution of the Greek rite in America
has been regarded by many Ruthenians as an attack upon their Slavic nationality
and the Eastern Rite.10,000 Ruthenians
went over to the Russian church in protest at what they regarded as an attempt
at latinization.Though Ea Semper weakened the Ruthenian Bishop’s
position by making him an auxiliary to the Latin bishop, yet, what was looked
upon as an attack upon his rights has tended to make him a rallying centre of a
Ruthenians have shown a proneness to combine into federations or unions (“bratatva”)
each of which gives strong expression to its point of view through the press,
generally through weekly newspapers of their own.
The first Ruthenians came to Canada
in 1894, nine families in all and settled near Star, not far from Edmonton.The movement, however, did not get underway
till 1897, and almost 40,000 had come before the end of the century.The Ruthenians have made no striking appeal
in the imagination.They hagve been
neither martyrs for their faith, vegetarians communities nor passive
resisters.They have been willing to eat
meat and hold property.They have learned
to help themselves and to accommodate themselves to Western conditions.They have shown a desire to secure for their
children the educational advantages that have been offered.Many, however, wish the first steps in that education
to be taken under teachers who know Ruthenian, and, therefore have been eager
to employ teachers with an inadequate acquaintance with the English
language.The lines of the development
of Ruthenian life in Canada
are in many instances not unlike that development in the United
States.One fact stands out with tremendous clearness-the Ruthenians have become
a force.Not in this province alone but
throughout the prairies.They have
control of school districts, they dictate the policy in more than one RuralMunicipality they have entered the
Legislature of Manitoba, and are knocking at the doors of the Legislative Assemblies
of other Provinces.As school trustees
they frequently get the affairs of the school districts in a frightful mess, as
Rural Councillors they have not exhibited any great administrative genius.And y et they have an aptitude for political
agitation.There is little doubt that
there are potent forces in the west of a strongly nationalistic character that
stand ready to exploit the Ruthenaians.
A dispatch from Winnipeg
under date of July 24th,
“A central political organization has been
formed inWinnipeg, and has as its aims to orgaise its branches and departments in
the very near future through out the district inhabited by Ruthenian Ukrainian
people in Manitoba, and later on
in Saskatchewan and Alberta.“The lack of such organization has been
painfully felt in the past,” says a circular issued, “but especially by
Ruthenians-Ukrainians themselves, as on account of such a state of affairs
existing there have not been clear political ideas, and from this, quasi
politicians drew advantages of all kinds through their persistency in the
bartering of their own people to one or the other party, entailing disgrace for
the whole nation.It is ended now, and
from now on the Ruthenians will act in their political life as an organized body.”
The following persons were elected to the
executive of the Ukrainian Policital club:
John Marciniw, president; Emil Orobko,
vice-president; N. Hladky, secretary; M. Hawryluk, vice-secretary; J. Zarowsky,
Directors-J. Zawidowsky, M. Burka, P.
Humniecky, T. Kozachenko, N. Feschyn, J. Scherbaniewich.
Board of Control - W. Sinowsky, Stef. Komavensky,
J. Yaworsky; Alex. Ksionsyk, administrator; S. Medwid, librarian.
circumstances it behooves us to look carefully to the education of the
Ruthenians.About 8,000 are in our
public schools.It would be desirable to
have the teacher in every Ruthenian school thoroughly Canadian.That may not be possible. But have we not the
duty at this juncture to consider the wisdom or unwisdom of the policy of a
separate Training School or course for Ruthenian teachers and the rather
generous granting of Provisional Permits. Let every Ruthenian who has taken our
regular course in our regular public and high schools and is duly qualified
have the amplest opportunity to teach. But I insist we cannot afford to have
short cuts and special devices open to the non-English and I say this in the
interests and for the sake of the non-English. Though their children speak with
the tongue of Ruthenians and of angels and have not been touched with Canadian
ideals and have not mastered the English language, our system of education
profiteth us nothing. We welcome every gift of genius, every grace of culture,
every refinement of spirit, but we want neither the German language nor a
Ukrainian movement erected as a barrier to prevent them exerting their
influence n our midst.
The Way Out
The way out of our difficulties lies
not in making concessions. A larger administrative unit with greater regard to
municipal boundaries, a system of medical inspection in rural districts a
uniform treatment of all non-English languages in our schools" a strict
enforcement of the regulations governing the teaching of non-English languages,
the employment of the direct instead of the indirect method even in the primary
grades, some substantial encouragement to the work of school gardening and
school fairs; the levying of school rates even on section in unorganised
districts-why should there be over 40 sections untaxed within a stone's throw;
of the City of Saskatoon-a complete survey of conditions in rural communities,
and, finally, the one dominating policy of making Canadian citizens here on the
prairies-I commend these matters to you as a programme of reform.
I wish to read you a simple, but eloquent,
little letter written by a young lad, just 10 months out from Sweden.
He learned English by the direct method. He makes only one mistake in spelling-
the word"ski," and for all I
know, he may be giving it in the Swedish form.
EastMountSchool; 21st December, 1914
I was born in Sweden
on the first of February, 1903.
I came to Canada
the 28th of February of this year. My name is Olov Albin Norlander. I live with
my uncle, Andrew Olson, on a farm near Earl Grey, half a mile from EastMountSchool.
When I came to school first I started in the first class. So I have gone right
through the Primer, First and Second Readers and am now in the third. I did not
know any English at all when I arrived in Canada.
I had learned what Yes and No meant on board the ship we came by. My mother and
three brothers and I sailed with the Alsatian from Liverpool.
I did not like Canada
very well at first, but now that I can speak and write English I would not care
to go back to Sweden.
We lived in the north of Sweden,
but it was never as cold there as here, though we had sleighs and snowshoes and
skeies in winter. If you want any carving in wood, early in 1915 I think I can
do one or two little things. I will close.
It is my conviction, fellow
citizens, that Olov Albin Norlander is already a good Canadian citizen. And he
has given in one sentence an essential element in the secret of citizenship on
these prairies "Now that I can speak and write English I would not care to
go back to Sweden."
Mr. Chairman, I beg leave to move the following resolution:-
"That the Citizens' Committee
on Public Education convened at Regina on Sept. 22nd, 1915, place itself in
record as endorsing the policy of seeing that every child on leaving school should
be at least able to read, write and speak English."
The Country School in
Non-English Speaking Communities
in Saskatchewan By Rev. H. Oliver
Book Transcription Project
This address was delivered before the Saskatchewan
Public Education League in Regina on September 22nd,
1915. Its publication herewith in no means commits
the Saskatchewan Gen Web One Room School House project
to the views expressed therein. The responsi-
bility for the statements rests with the speaker.
The Country School in Non-English Speaking Communities in Saskatchewan By Rev. H. Oliver, Ph.D.Principal, Presbyterian Theological College, Saskatoon Vice President Saskatchewan Public Education League Note by Dr. Oliver - "This address was delivered before the Saskatchewan Public Education League in Regina on September 22nd, 1915. Its publication by the League in no means commits the League to the views expressed therein. The responsibility for the statements rests with the speaker. The Country School in Non-English Speaking Communities in Saskatchewan. The Country School in Non-English Speaking Communities in Saskatchewan