>Living in the Kootenays in British Columbia, I am fortunate to have experienced some of the rich heritage that the Doukhobor community provides. The Doukhobors are a pacifist Christian sect originating in Russia in the 17th century. In 1899 about 7400 Doukhobors immigrated to Canada, settling in parts of Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and later moving to the Kootenay region of British Columbia.
They lived off the land, many still cultivating their farms and growing their own vegetables and fruits.
The Duokhobors grew flax and hemp, spinning the fiber and weaving their own cloth. Wonderful weaving treasures, old spinning wheels and looms can still be found in antique shops and the occasional garage sale.
There are several museums and cultural centres throughout the province, that have displays of Doukhobor handwork and craftsmanship.
Be sure to visit the Doukhobor Village if you are in Castlegar. In the Grand Forks settlement as in other communities, they operated on a moneyless system, producing their own goods and trading as needed. A tannery, blacksmith shop, jam factory, sawmill and weaving all enabled them to be self sufficient.
Tarasoff Collection – BC Archives
The Canadian Museum of Civilization
had an exhibit featuring the life of the Douhkobors called “The Spirit Wrestlers”.
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