A Critique On Paul Yuzyk

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Paul Yuzyk's " The Ukrainians in Manitoba" is a social history describing the rise of one of Canada's most colorful peoples. The author shows how a proud, but oppressed, people came to serve a new homeland, which, at times also mistrusted them.

What some might view as a biased account of Ukrainian-Canadian history, gives a very precise and authentic account of a people's struggle for individual freedom.

Yuzyk effectively shows why the Ukrainian people chose to leave their homeland.

The book begins, with the author describing the origins of the Ukrainian people. Yuzyk describes the medieval Ukrainian State as "One of the foremost states in Europe (p 4)." The tragic end came with the Mongol Horde invasions of 1223, which the rest of Europe sat and watched. This ultimately, says Yuzyk, led to Ukraine's neighbors opourtunistically laying claim to its rich lands. This, says Yuzyk, led the state into 600 years of off and on occupation.

If we move forward to the late nineteenth century account of the History, Yuzyk vividly describes why the people wanted to leave their homelands, in current Russia. He used a quote by a Russian official: " There never existed, does not exist, and never can exist a Ukrainian language" "“ Russian interior minister Valuyev (p 28). The situation in Austria not being much better with Peasants being dominated by Polish and Austrian aristocrats. For this, Yusyk says, Ukrainians began their exodus in the 1880's.