Doukhobors In Castlegar: An Essential Part of Our History
Some 7500 Doukhobors, nearly a third of the total existing population, settled on the Canadian prairies in the early 1900s, establishing dozens of communal village settlements on government granted homesteads in what is now the province of Saskatchewan. Confronted with an apparent breach of agreement by the Canadian government in terms of homestead requirements and allegiance to the crown, a great proportion of these Doukhobors chose on principle, to abandon their villages and nearly a quarter million acres of their cultivated land. Almost 6000 emigrated to British Columbia in 1908 to settle on large parcels of privately purchased land. Nearly 80 communal villages were constructed throughout the Kootenay-Boundary region of B.C. with elaborate supportive agro-industrial complexes in Grand Forks and Brilliant, under the corporate ownership of the CCUB (Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood). By 1924, this Doukhobor community had become the largest communal organization of its kind in North America. The USCC is a descendent of that organization and although its members no longer live communally, it remains until this day, the largest Doukhobor organization in Canada. Aside from the USCC, smaller Doukhobor organizations and groups also exist throughout the three western provinces.