UCC eNewsletter – December 2015

In this issue:
  • First Star I See Tonight: Ukrainian Christmas Traditions by Orysia Tracz
  • Holodomor Awareness Week
  • Holodomor Commemorated on Parliament Hill – National Holodomor Awareness Tour Inaugurated on Parliament Hill
  • Ukrainians around the world unite with Ukraine in commemorating
    82nd anniversary of the Holodomor
  • Manitoba Ukrainian Groups receive International Awards
  • Featured Ukrainian Canadian: Nazariy Demkowicz
  • Call for Volunteers
  • Thanking our Corporate Sponsors

Release of First Star I See Tonight: Ukrainian Christmas Traditions by Orysia Tracz -the first in-depth English-language book on Ukrainian Christmas traditions
Winnipeg: Mazepa Publications; Zhuravli Ltd., 2015
December 3, 2015, 7 P.M. – McNally Robinson Booksellers Grant Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Why do Ukrainians celebrate Christmas without Santa Claus? When do they get their gifts? Why is Ukrainian Christmas celebrated in January? Why do they eat twelve separate meatless and non-dairy foods on Christmas Eve? Why is there an empty place setting and chair at the table even if there are many people? Why do they go around singing in people’s homes in the depths of winter? What is a Malanka? What’s with all the different things celebrated in such a different way? What does all this mean?
Orysia Tracz is a writer, researcher, translator, and speaker on things Ukrainian, especially culture, and has had a life-long interest in Ukrainian rituals and traditions. In this book she explains Ukrainian Christmas origins, their symbolism, and their continuation in Ukraine and around the world, especially in Canada and the USA.
The author has wondered about all this since childhood, and has finally put all of it together (at least most of it). With the strong Ukrainian-heritage population in North America, and the interest shown in Ukrainian traditions whenever Ukrainian Christmas is mentioned in the media, this book will fill a large part of the need for this comprehensive information.  This is a book for families, generations, and for lovers of Christmas.
The book will be available online at McNally Robinson in Winnipeg and Saskatoon, from Yevshan, and select Ukrainian bookstores in North America.
Book Launch & Signing
Tuesday, December 15th at 6:00 p.m at Holy Family Home
Family Night-Auditorium – Book available for Sale $49.95
A portion of each book sold supports Holy Family Home-Life Love Legacy Campaign
Cheques payable Lubov SSMI Foundation


Holodomor Awareness Week 2015: November 21-28
Photo credit: Norbert Iwan
Ontario Ribbon -Cutting Launches the Holodomor Mobile Classroom
The Holodomor Mobile Classroom,a new initiative for teaching about the Famine of 1932-33, was the focus of a commemoration at the Ontario Legislative Assembly at Queen’s Park on November 24. The customized RV, with the words “Holodomor – The Ukrainian Genocide” emblazoned across forty feet of blue sky and wheat fields, was a striking sight against the background of the Legislative Building. The Holodomor Mobile Classroom will tour the province of Ontario and then the country teaching about the manmade famine that starved to death millions of Ukrainians.
Ontario Minister of Education Liz Sandals and Member of the Provincial Parliament Yvan Baker, who has supported the project since its inception, cut the ribbon to launch the mobile classroom, which is the centerpiece of the Holodomor National Awareness Tour project.
Bohdan Onyschuk of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, which spearheaded the project, said, “We are excited that the Holodomor Mobile Classroom is ready to begin visiting schools, community events, and other venues, where it will promote awareness of the Holodomor and the consequences of hate, oppression, and discrimination.”
Paul Grod, National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), addressed the gathering, noting that Ukraine again faces forces determined to undermine it.  Also in attendance were Taras Bahriy, President of UCC-Toronto Branch; Julie Dzerowicz, Member of Parliament (Davenport); and two Canadians who lived through the Holodomor, Stefan Horlatch and Mykola Latyshko. The ceremony included a blessing of the bus by Bishop Andriy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada and Bishop Stephen Chmilar and Rev. Petro Dvirnik of the Ukrainian Canadian Catholic Church.
Minister Liz Sandals stated, “The Holodomor Mobile Classroom will provide students with an innovative learning experience about social justice, human rights and democratic values in relation to the genocide by famine which killed millions of Ukrainians. This supports the goals of our Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy which encourages students to learn about diverse histories, perspectives, and cultures.”
The Province of Ontario has committed $750,000 to raise awareness of the Holodomor among students in public schools. Students in urban, rural and northern communities will benefit from the state-of-the-art audio-visual experience featuring a 28-foot video wall. A facilitator will lead an interactive lesson that develops critical thinking skills as students practice the historian’s craft, investigating sources and analyzing artifacts. Lessons underscore the importance of human rights and the rule of law as well as the concept of genocide. More than 10,000 students per year across Canada are expected to benefit. Wheelchair accessible, the mobile classroom can accommodate up to 34 visitors at a time.
The Government of Canada has provided a three-year grant of $1.5 million to support the project. The Province of Manitoba is providing educational expertise and other in-kind support. The project is carried out by the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (project lead), the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre (UCRDC), and the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC) of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta.
The Holodomor Mobile Classroom will visit universities, government buildings, fairs and community events as well as schools. To arrange a visit of the mobile classroom, contact the Holodomor National Awareness Tour at 416 966-9800; or via the project websitewww.holodomortour.ca


  • The new resource supports Canadian and World Studies, Social Sciences and Humanities courses in secondary schools as well as Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy which aims to create an inclusive education system that values diversity and respect for others. Modules will be available in French.
  • Ontario’s Holodomor Memorial Day Act (Bill 147) dedicates the fourth Saturday in November to commemorate the tragic historical event.
  • In 2008, Canada became the first country to officially recognize the Holodomor genocide.



National Holodomor Awareness Tour Inaugurated on Parliament Hill
December 9, 2015 – OTTAWA. Yesterday, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Embassy of Ukraine in Canada held a solemn commemoration to mark the 82nd anniversary the 1932-33 Holodomor in Ukraine on Parliament Hill.
The Holodomor, which means death by starvation, refers to the 1932-33 Famine-Genocide, where millions of Ukrainians were deliberately starved to death by the Communist regime of Joseph Stalin in an attempt to destroy the Ukrainian nation. For more than half a century the truth about this genocide was concealed, in the hope that its memory would be extinguished forever.
Rising in the House of Commons to mark the anniversary of the Holodomor, Member of Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj stated, “Behind barbed wire, Ukraine became a Hell on earth. Her lush countryside denuded of leaves and grasses as people ate anything that grew. It became a land where no fields rustled and no birds sang, where the deathly silence in villages was only broken by the sounds of wagons picking up the dead. One by one, thousand after thousand, million after million laid their skin and bone bodies down onto Ukraine’s fertile black soil and became one with their land.”
For a video of Mr. Wrzesnewskyj’s statement, please click:

At the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill, the Holodomor National Awareness Tour mobile classroom (http://www.holodomortour.ca/) was inaugurated by assembled Members of Parliament and leaders of the Ukrainian Canadian community. The mobile classroom, a 40-ft RV which will travel across Canada, was toured by Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Hon. Mélanie Joly, and Members of Parliament in attendance.
The Holodomor Mobile Classroom will provide students with an innovative learning experience about social justice, human rights and democratic values in relation to the genocide by famine which killed millions of Ukrainians.
“The Holodomor National Awareness Tour will encourage Canadians to examine the consequences of hate, oppression and discrimination while promoting the values of human dignity, tolerance and truth as fundamental to a democratic society,” stated Bob Onyschuk of the Canada Ukraine Foundation, which heads the Holodomor National Awareness Tour project.
The Government of Canada, through Inter-Action, Canada’s multiculturalism grants and contributions program, has provided a three-year grant valued at $1.5 million to support this project.
Following the inauguration of the Holodomor National Awareness Tour mobile classroom, a solemn commemoration was held in the Centre Block of the House of Commons, hosted by the Hon. Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House of Commons. The ceremony was led by Master of Ceremonies Borys Wrzesnewskyj, MP, who offered dignified and heartfelt remarks. The prayer in memory of the victims of the Holodomor was led by Rev. Fr. Ihor Okhrimtchouk and Rev. Fr. Peter Galadza and those in attendance sang Eternal Memory (Vichnaya Pamyat).
“Canadians recognize the Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. The systemic killing of millions of Ukrainians was one of the darkest chapters in human history,” stated the Hon. Mélanie Joly. “Innocent people starved and were executed for nothing more than trying to speak their language, maintain their culture, keep their land, and live in peace.”
The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, stated, “I’m honoured to represent the Government of Canada at this year’s national Holodomor commemoration ceremony on Parliament Hill.  We must never forget the Holodomor and we must always remember the victims and shed light on this dark chapter of human history.   I’m very proud that Canada has officially recognized the Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.  Canada will always stand with the people of Ukraine.”
Speakers at the event included the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Rona Ambrose; the Leader of the NDP, the Hon. Thomas Mulcair; Marko Shevchenko, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Ukraine in Canada; and Paul Grod, National President of the UCC.
Speaking on behalf of the Ukrainian Canadian community, Grod stated, “Unfortunately more than 80 years later, the Holodomor has more relevance to the people of Ukraine and the world than it has ever had before. Ukraine today is under military, economic and political attack by the Putin regime, much like it was under Stalin over 80 years ago. Ukrainians have learned their lesson from the Holodomor and will not roll-over to the Putin’s attempt to eradicate the Ukrainian nation. Around the world Ukrainian communities are working in their respective countries to gain support for the plight of the Ukrainian people that desire nothing more than to live in a country that is free from foreign aggression and respects the human dignity of its people.”
The commemoration was attended by dozens of Members of Parliament from all parties. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to all those who attended the National Holodomor commemoration ceremony at the Parliament of Canada.
May the Memory of the Victims Be Eternal
Вічная Пам’ять
Інаґурація Національного Турне Пам’яті Жертв Голодомору на Парламентському Пагорбі
9-го грудня, 2015 – Оттава. Вчора Конґрес Українців Канади та Посольство України в Канаді вшанували 82-гу річницю Голодомору в Україні у 1932-33 роках.
Голодомор – вимушена смерть шляхом голоду є геноцидом 1932-33 років де мільйони українців були навмисно вбиті голодом. Цей геноцид був організований комуністичним режимом Йосипа Сталіна як спосіб знищення українців як нації. Правда про цей геноцид скривалася більш ніж півстоліття з метою, що пам’ять про це зникне назавжди.
Під час відзначення річниці Голодомору в Палаті Громад член Парламенту Борис Вжесневський заявив: “Перебуваючи за колючим дротом Україна перетворилася у пекло на землі. Родючі землі були оголені і спустошені, не залишалося ні листя, ні трави, адже люди їли все, що росло. Все перетворилося у пустку необроблених полів, де більш не співали птахи, у селах панувала мертва тиша, яку порушував єдиний звук – стукіт коліс возу, який підбирав тіла померлих. Один за одним, тисяча за тисячею, мільйон за мільйоном лягали виснажені голодом тіла в родючий український чорнозем і ставали одним цілим із їхньою землею.”
На Парламентському Пагорбі відбулася інаґурація мобільної навчальної кімнати Національне Турне Вшанування Пам’яті Жертв Голодомору (http://www.holodomor.ca/) , де були присутні члени парламенту та провідники українсько-канадської громади. Міністр Спадщини Висооповажна Мелані Джолі та члени Парламенту відвідали пересувну навчальну експозицію про Голодомор, розташовану у 42′ автобусі який подорожуватиме через цілу Канаду.
Застосовуючи новаторський досвід навчання пересувна навчальна кімната про Голодомор надаватиме студентам можливість вивчати такі теми як соціальна справедливість, людські права та демократичні цінності з точки зору геноциду, який знищив мільйони українців.
“Національне Турне Вшанування Пам’яті Жертв Голодомору заохочуватиме канадців переосмислювати наслідки ненависті, пригнічення та дискримінації і наголошуватиме на такі цінності як людська гідність, толерантність та правда які є фундаментальними складовими демократичного суспільства,” – підкреслив Богдан Онищук з Канадсько – Української Фундації, яка очолює цей проект.
Уряд Канади через програму багатокультурних ґрантів та внесків виділив трьох річний півторамільйонний ґрант а підтримку цього проекту.
Після інаґурації пересувної навчальної кімнати відбулося урочисте вшанування жертв Голодомору у Центральному Блоці Парламенту за участі Високоповажного Спікера Палати Громад Джефа Ріґана. Борис Вжесневський, член Парламенту провів церемонію вшанування, висловивши гідні та щирі слова. Отець Ігор Охрімчук та отець Петро Ґаладза разом із присутніми помолилися за душі жертв Голодомору та відспівали “Вічная Пам’ять”.
“Канадці визнають Голодомор як акт геноциду проти українського народу. Навмисне вбивство мільйонів українців було одним із найтемніших сторінок в історії людства,” – заявила Високоповажна Мелані Джолі. “Невинні люди голодували і були знищені лише за те, що хотіли розмовляти своєю власною мовою, підтримувати свою культуру, зберігати свою власну землю і мирно жити”.
Високоповажна Христя Фріланд, Міністр Міжнародної Торгівлі заявила: ” Для мене є честю представляти уряд Канади на цьогорічному національному вшануванні жертв Голодомору у Парламенті. Ми ніколи не повинні забути про Голодомор і повинні завжди пам’ятати жертви і повинні кинути світло на цю темну сторінку в історії людства. Я горда, що Канада визнала Голодомор як акт геноциду проти українського народу. Канада завжди буде з народом України”.
Серед виступаючих були також лідер Опозиції Висикоповажна Рона Амброз, лідер Новодемократичної Партії високоповажний Томас Малкер, тимчасово повірений у справах України в Канаді Марко Шевченко та національний Президент Конґресу Українців Канади Павло Ґрод.
Виступаючи від імені українсько-канадської громади Ґрод заявив: “На жаль, більше ніж 80 років пізніше, сьогодні для народу України та цілого світу питання Голодомору залишається доречним більш ніж будь-коли. Україна сьогодні перебуває під військовою, економічною та політичною атакою режиму Путіна, подібно як це було за Сталіна понад 80 років тому. Гіркий урок Голодомору дає українцям сили не піддаватися намаганням Путіна знищити українську націю. Українські громади по всьому світу працюють у країнах їхнього проживання щоб підтримати прагнення українського народу найщирішою волею якого є життя у вільній від чужоземної агресії країні, де дотримуються людської гідності”.
Понад десяток членів Парламенту, представників усіх партій були присутні на вшануванні жертв Голодомору. Конґрес Українців Канади щиро вдячний всім присутнім на Національному вшануванні жертв Голодомору у Парламенті Канади.
Вічная Пам’ять
1 December 2015
Ukrainians around the world unite with Ukraine in commemorating
82nd anniversary of the Holodomor
Ukrainians around the world unite with Ukraine in commemorating
82nd anniversary of the Holodomor
On 28 November 2015 Director of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) Mission to Ukraine Serhiy Kasyanchuk laid stalks of wheat in memory of the millions of victims of the Holodomor at the Memorial in Commemoration of Famine Victims in Ukraine in Kyiv during the official commemoration of the 82nd anniversary of the famine genocide of 1932-33.

Ukrainian communities throughout the world united in marking this anniversary throughout the month of November with a range of commemorative events that included meetings with Holodomor survivors, academic conferences, film screenings, educational programming, solemn candlelight vigils and memorial services.

In honoring the memory of the victims, the UWC expresses gratitude to the individuals – People of Truth – who, in their own ways, tried to share the story of the Holodomor with the world.

“The Ukrainian World Congress calls upon the international community to keep the flame of truth alive by sharing these testimonies and ensure that all governments in the world formally recognize the Holodomor of 1932-33 a genocide of the Ukrainian people,” stated UWC President Eugene Czolij.

The UWC is the international coordinating body for Ukrainian communities in the diaspora representing the interests of over 20 million Ukrainians. The UWC has member organizations in 34 countries and ties with Ukrainians in 14 additional countries. Founded in 1967, the UWC was recognized in 2003 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with special consultative status.

1 грудня 2015 р.
Українці всього світу приєдналися до України у відзначенні 
82-ої річниці Голодомору

28 листопада 2015 р. Директор Представництва Світового Конґресу Українців (СКУ) в Україні Сергій Касянчук поклав колоски пшениці в пам’ять про мільйони жертв Голодомору під час офіційної церемонії відзначення 82-ої річниці геноциду українського народу 1932-33 рр. у Національному музеї “Меморіал пам’яті жертв Голодомору в Україні” в Києві.

Українські громади всього світу об’єдналися у відзначенні протягом листопада цієї дати шляхом проведення пам’ятних заходів, які включали зустрічі зі свідками Голодомору, академічні конференції, демонстрування фільмів, освітні програми, урочисте запалення свічок та поминальні служби.

Вшановуючи пам’ять жертв Голодомору, СКУ висловлює вдячність тим особам – “Людям Правди”, які, кожен у свій спосіб, намагалися поширити в світі правдиві відомості про Голодомор.

“Світовий Конґрес Українців закликає міжнародне співтовариство нести смолоскип цієї правди, поділяючи ці свідчення та запевняючи, що уряди всіх країн офіційно визнають Голодомор 1932-33 рр. геноцидом українського народу,” – заявив Президент СКУ Евген Чолій.

СКУ є міжнародною координаційною надбудовою українських громад у діаспорі, що представляє інтереси понад 20 мільйонів українців. СКУ об’єднує в своєму складі українські організації із 34 країн та підтримує зв’язки з українцями ще 14 країн. Заснований у 1967 р., СКУ був визнаний у 2003 р. неурядовою організацією у Економічній та соціальній раді Організації Об’єднаних Націй зі спеціальним консультативним статусом.


Manitoba Ukrainian Groups receive International Awards
At a special ceremony of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) held in conjunction with
that group’s September 11, 2015 Annual General Meetings in Madrid, Spain the UWC’s
World Commission on Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Taras
Shevchenko awarded Shevchenko 200 Committee of the Ukrainian Canadian
Congress – Manitoba Provincial Council and the Manitoba Parents for
Ukrainian Education (MPUE) has been awarded the UWC’s Commemorative
Award “200 years since the Birth of Taras Shevchenko” for its significant contribution to
popularizing the creative heritage of Shevchenko and honoring him outside of Ukraine.

UCC-MPC was honored for a year’s worth of project celebrating the life and legacy of
Taras Shevchenko.
Most important of the project undertaken was a Shevchenko biographical exhibit.
This consisted of eleven panel exhibit showing the life of Shevchenko, with particular
reference to his presence in Manitoba. The Exhibit was launched at the Provincial
Legislative Building and was displayed at various locations in Winnipeg, Dauphin,
Brandon, Vita, Rosa, Gimli, Sandy Lake, Gardenton and Gilbert Plains.
Other important activities for which the Committee was honored included the
renaming of a portion of Aberdeen Avenue in Winnipeg to Taras Shevchenko Way.
10,000 copies of a Taras Shevchenko Brochure were distributed to the general
public. Book Exhibits representing Shevchenko were shown at the main Public
Library in Winnipeg, at St. Andrew’s College, Holy Family Home and the University of
Manitoba Library. At the suggestion of the UCC-MPC, the Province of Manitoba and the
City of Winnipeg designated March 2014 as Taras Shevchenko Month. Working
with the Ukrainian Students’ Association at the University of Manitoba, a film festival
showing movies based on Shevchenko’s works and themes was held at venues across
Winnipeg. A Gala Shevchenko Concert was presented to a sold out house at the
Jubilee Auditorium on March 8, 2015
MPUE was honored for its project: the Taras Shevchenko: 200 years Celebration
Art Project.The project saw the creation of six art panels that expressed the
significance of Taras Shevchenko for these young Canadians enrolled in the English
Ukrainian Bilingual programs in Manitoba. Over 600 students in Kindergarten to Grade
9 were involved in creating this project.
The children’s art work and collective artistic efforts were combined into fabric-based
art panels forming a traveling exhibit which has been displayed at many Manitoba
venues throughout 2014 and 2015. The art exhibit has been enjoyed by thousands of
people of many cultural backgrounds, and provides the public with an introduction to
Taras Shevchenko and his legacy.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Manitoba Provincial Council (UCC-MPC) is
comprised of more than 20 member organizations and is an inclusive, self-sustaining,
vibrant organization that serves the Manitoban Ukrainian community in order to
maintain, develop and share the Ukrainian Canadian identity, culture and community
MPUE is an association of parent volunteers dedicated to promoting, enhancing and
expanding the English-Ukrainian Bilingual Program in Manitoba. MPUE is the umbrella
organization that provides support for the parent organizations associated with each of
the 12 schools providing the English-Ukrainian Bilingual Program.

For more information, contact:
Oksana Bondarchuk, President UCC-MPC
(204) 297 6958
Paulette Monita, President MPUE
Featured Ukrainian Canadian: Nazariy Demkowicz 

Nazariy Demkowicz (ND) is a an 18-year old actor from Winnipeg, MB. He is currently studying Film and Science at the University of Manitoba and most recently won a Joey Award which recognizes young Canadian performers. He is the youngest child of Lesia Demkowicz, the Administrative Assistant at the UCC Head Office. The following interview was conducted by Michael Hrycak (MH) from the UCC National Office. 
MH: Where are you from originally and describe your childhood growing up?
ND: I was born on Thanksgiving Day in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I have an older brother, niece and nephew.
MH: How and when did you get into acting? What and/or whom were some of your influences?
ND: I began almost everything at the age of six; violin, Tae Kwon Do, acting, and I also started International Ballroom Dancing a few years ago. I began acting by taking classes at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People. My first professional role was playing Paul Dewey, the son of the lead detective Alvin Dewey played by Chris Cooper in CAPOTE. I had an amazing time on set as this was one of my first times having my own trailer and experiencing what it is like to be on a professional production. As I learned more about the film industry, gained experience, and had these wonderful memories, I continued to further my academic studies in school while pursuing extracurricular activities. The first few times I was on set influenced me to continue looking forward to being on set; I always enjoy being in the midst of the hustle and bustle, watching everyone do their part so that in the end everything can come together to form an amazing product.
MH: What was it like to receive a role in a major film like Capote and working with a multitude of well-known Hollywood actors?
ND: I was almost seven years old, and for me everything was new and exciting; it was different and I was very curious on set. I remember playing with toys from the 1959, which were very different from current toys. My time on set of the Academy Award Winning film Capote, which was filmed in Winnipeg, was great and the people that were around me made it even better. It was interesting for me to see very fun and friendly people transform from being their usual selves, to a whole other person living their life within the story of Truman Capote; all at the sound of the director Bennett Miller calling “Action!” Working with this multitude of well-known actors such as Chris Cooper, Amy Ryan who played my mother Marie Dewey, and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman made me notice the amount of work and effort put in by each member of the cast and crew in order to develop a solidified character and story. The work done by Philip Seymour Hoffman was outstanding; his portrayal of Truman Capote was so ‘bang on’ that he remained in character in-between takes. I took away very fond memories from Capote; how the actors carried themselves during scenes and how they prepared, and even a moment when it was so cold outside that Ms. Amy Ryan gave me her pocket warmers and kept my hands warm.
MH: Have your Ukrainian roots influenced your career? Ha

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