Charismatic Doukhobor leader Peter Verigin and the Migration of Doubkhobors to British Columbia were both honoured in a ceremony today by the Government of Canada through Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada at the Doukhobor Discovery Centre.
About 80 people were on hand as Jacolyn Daniluck from Parks Canada; J.J. Verigin, executive director of the USCC; Alex Wishlow, president of the Canadian Doukhobor Society; and Larry Ewashen, former curator of the Doukhobor Discovery Centre, spoke about the contributions to Canada from Peter Verigin and the migration of the Doukhobor people from Saskatchewan to B.C. The four then pulled back the curtains to unveil two brand new plaques which honoured Peter Verigin and the Doukhobor migration for their national historic significance.
“Larry (Ewashen) worked tirelessly with Parks Canada to help support the commemoration,” said Daniluck of Parks Canada which looks after the plaques once the recipients have been chosen. “It’s quite an accomplishment for one community to have three of these accomplishments (along with the Brilliant Suspension Bridge). You don’t see that very often. So, well done to this community.”
Nominating Peter Verigin and the Migration of the Doukhbors was Ewashen, who retired from the Doukhobor Discovery Centre in 2010 after several years as curator.
“It’s not a simple matter of nomination, you have to go through a long process of lobbying, letters of support, and research,” he said. “It’s been ten years since I’ve been working on this. The designations were actually granted in 2008. But it was only from then to now that we have been able to get the plaques here. It’s a onerous and long process.”
It’s important for people in BC and Canada to know about Peter Verigin and the Doukhobor migration, says Ewashen. “Because all the press and media is controlled from a Centrist-Anglo-Saxon perspective, a lot of our ethnic history is not known and not told and it’s not taught in our schools. So I think it’s very important when you get a kind of high profile event like this it’s very often presenting facts that have not been previously viewed. I think the Historic Sites and Board of Canada plays a very important historical role. They so often are recognizing and bringing to light things that have been previously not exposed and not known about. It’s a very vital and important recognition.”