Student Seeks Participants From Across Canada to Broaden Research

by Sonya White

Are you interested in Doukhobor pasts, presents, and futures in Canada? Would you like to share your views on the importance that memory has in contemporary visions of Doukhoborism? Learn about University of Toronto Master’s student Sonya White’s research on Doukhobor memory, history and healing and how you can participate in her research interview. Her call for interview participants, originally focused on British Columbia Doukhobors, has now been broadened to include Doukhobors living in other parts of Canada.

Hello from British Columbia – the information below was originally posted on the Doukhobor Message Board in September as a means of generating interest in my university research on conflict, memory, and healing in the West Kootenay and Boundary Doukhobor community in British Columbia. My initial research suggests that the 20th century depredations and conflicts in British Columbia affected the daily lives of Doukhobors across Canada. I am therefore hoping to broaden my research to explore the effects that the 20th century conflict had on Doukhobors living in other parts of Canada. I would like to invite interested members of the Doukhobor community in Canada to participate in an interview with me by telephone or email – the questions will focus on the effects of the B.C. depredations and conflict on the lived experiences of Doukhobors who resided outside of the West Kootenay and Boundary regions. Please contact me by telephone at 1-(250)-421-2055 or by email at for more information. Thank you. Sonya White

Dear reader of the Doukhobor Genealogy website,

Hello. My name is Sonya White. I was born and raised in Cranbrook, British Columbia and am presently working on my Master’s degree in adult education and community development at the University of Toronto. My mother grew up in a West Kootenay Doukhobor family and I have spent time in the West Kootenay and Boundary regions with adults and elders who have taught me about Doukhoborism and Doukhobor experiences in British Columbia. I am returning to the West Kootenay and Boundary regions this autumn to conduct a series of research conversations about memory, history, and healing.

I am initiating this research project as part of my Master’s degree to explore the ways in which memories of conflict persist in the lives of people who have lived through experiences of conflict. Specifically, I will be asking questions about the different ways in which diverse members of the Doukhobor community in south-central British Columbia live with and remember their experiences of 20th century Doukhobor conflict. I am conscious of the broad reach that conflict has and am therefore interested in speaking with people who experienced the 20th century conflict as direct participants or indirect non-participants.

Sonya White, University of Toronto Masters student researching Doukhobor memory.

As the researcher, I will be conducting individual interviews with adult and elder Doukhobors who lived in the West Kootenay and Boundary districts of British Columbia during periods of 20th century conflict. I believe in effectively representing a diversity of experiences and am hoping to interview men and women of different ages and different affiliations to the heterogeneous Doukhobor community who experienced the conflict as discussed above. If you fit this criteria, or know of people who fit this criteria and might be interested in having a research interview with me, please contact me directly or pass my contact information on to those people who might be willing to get in touch with me.

You might wonder why this research is important. I believe that it holds many potential benefits for Doukhobor people and non-Doukhobor people who are interested in knowing more about how people find peace after conflict has been resolved. Specifically, I see this research as being important and of interest to the broader Doukhobor community because it aims to accomplish the following goals:

  • it will make an important contribution to the public understanding of Doukhobor history and experience in western Canada;
  • it will validate and legitimize the knowledge of a minority cultural community in Canada;
  • it will explore the ways in which different generations of Doukhobors experienced the “Doukhobor troubles”;
  • it will give diverse members of the Doukhobor community in Canada an opportunity to reflect on their experiences of conflict and ask how these memories of difficult pasts should be integrated into a contemporary understanding of Doukhoborism today;
  • and it will identify different strategies for living with difficult pasts and learning to heal from direct or indirect experiences of conflict.

If you have specific questions about this research and/or would like to participate in a research interview with me, please contact me by telephone at (250)-421-2055, by email at, or by mail:

Sonya White
1631 Staple Crescent
Cranbrook, British Columbia
V1C 6J1

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sonya White