Talking with the Mennonites

Fonds name: 
Talking with the Mennonites
Accession number: 
R-A671 to R-A683
Lang. of recordings: 
English
IR: 
Summaries of interviews
Description: 
Interviews conducted in 1973 under the "Towards a New Past Programme" of the Cultural Activities Branch of the Department of Culture and Youth. During the course of his project work, Lorne Abells wished to interview Mennonites from various walks of life to record their experiences, beliefs and feelings in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of what it means to be a Mennonite in Canadian society. Informants are from rural and urban backgrounds (Saskatoon, Rosthern, Swift Current, Carlton, and Laird) and include a railroad employee, two farmers, an engineer, several pastors, a secretary, a street cleaner, two teachers and a newspaper editor. Most came from Russia and speak of the reasons which prompted them to immigrate and the difficulties which faced them as they established their homes on the prairies. Several describe hardships that were suffered during the Depression with the attitude that these were nothing in comparison to the struggles they endured in their homelands. They sometimes had problems learning English, though the young children going to school found it relatively easy. Many found it difficult to accept the CCF government when in came to power in the 1940s because of its socialistic policies. They equated those policies in somes ways with the communism that they had fled. Today, they realize that their fears were unfounded. As well as talking about the politics in Canada at present, their attitudes towards war and peace are discussed, several of the informants commenting on the role of the Mennonite people to promote peace in the world. Many describe their feelings and beliefs about marriage, divorce and the disintegration of the family unit which is occurring more often today. In doing so, they speak of their faith, changes that have taken place in their church and general characteristics of the Mennonite people. Sound quality is not always excellent.
Language of Record: 
Name interviewer: 
Ethnocultural groups: 
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