LIVING SLOVAK
THE CHURCHES, CENTRES OF ACTIVITY
THE ORGANIZATIONS
WILL YOU SPEAK SLOVAK?
THE UNKNOWN ARTS
SOCIAL NEEDS
COMMUNICATIONS
IS IT TIME TO GO BACK?
IT'S ONLY POLITICS
YOU'VE GOT TO BE THERE
WHO WILL SPEAK FOR US?
REMEMBERING THE PAST
THE WIRED COMMUNITY
PROJECTS TO CONSIDER
SPORTS TIMES
A PLACE TO SHOW OUR STUFF
THE STRUGGLING ARTS
COME TOGETHER
WHAT YOU MUST DO
SLOVAK SOM, AJ SLOVAK BUDEM!

Slovaks in Canada
in the Year 2000

by John V. Stephens, Q.C.,
Honorary Consul, Slovak Republic


REMEMBERING THE PAST

How do we tell our children what Slovaks have accomplished in Canada and the U.S., if we have no place to show them, no movies or photographs for them to see, no books for them to read?

A few years ago, a monument was erected at Frank, Alberta, where many Slovaks miners died when the mountain by which they were living literally fell in on them as they slept. Today the marker bearing the Slovak cross and emblem is seen by thousands of travellers making their way across Canada along the Trans Canada Highway, and who stop in at the government historic centre. Everyone is made aware that Slovaks were there.

Recently the Slovak Canadian National Council was approached again by a number of people whose forefathers settled outside Hearst, Ontario, and named their settlement Bradlo, in honor of the place where the Slovakian hero, Gen. Milan Rastislav Stefanik was buried. They too wanted a monument honoring Slovak pioneers.

There are few of the pioneering families left now, and very little to remind Canadians of the Slovak origin of the town. But in July a commemorative historical plaque will be unveiled by the province there.

There are many more examples like this across Canada, this huge country, as our people just move off to other places and leave their past behind.

The other day I was browsing through old wedding photographs my mother and father had left us, but now even I have difficulty recognizing some of the people. How great it would be to have our artifacts and photographs in a centre where our young could go to learn about their Slovak past.

I thought about the many priest's vestments my mother had embroidered and wondered where they are now. The many krojs from parts of Slovakia that made their way to Canada now locked up in our closets. We need a place to show off our culture and our past.

We need a cultural centre where these kinds of things could be displayed and kept for the future.

There are so many Slovaks who have accomplished so much in politics, sports, business, journalism, medicine and yet so few of us are aware of what they have done, and that they too were proud Slovaks!

We have many artists who could loan such a centre examples of their works, and make our people aware of the work they do, and at the same time let other Canadians visiting the centre be aware of what great Slovak artists we have in Canada.

Think of the thousands of photographs that have been taken showing our community at work, prayer and at play. What a fascinating display that would be.

Our dance groups have been captured forever on film and video. What a pleasant way for our youth to spend time looking at how we did things, and they can do even better!

Our fraternals and our business men have often complained that there are no projects in the community at the present time. I appeal to them to consider how much a cultural centre would serve as a museum of our past and as a direction toward our future.

Our parents came with little but their empty hands, yet built for us our community. It now is up to us, with our affluence, education and our positions in Canadian and American society to make sure that the community survives and the efforts of our parents are not forgotten.

Copyright of "Slovaks in Canada in the Year 2000" 1996 - John V. Stephens, Q.C.
All other contents & photographs 1997, Ondro Mihal.
All comments should be forwarded to
Ondro Mihal at omihal@slovak.com.
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Last update on
May 29, 1997.