Friday, 23 April 2021

Bill Kalmakoff Awarded by Governor General

Click on photo to enlarge.

Bill Kalmakoff (91), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

'For more than two decades, Bill Kalmakoff has served as a community representative at province-wide culture meetings of the Saskatoon Doukhobor Society and the Doukhobor Cultural Society of Saskatchewan. He has promoted public awareness of and fostered a greater appreciation for the contributions of Canadian Doukhobors.'

Bill has served as Elder for the Doukhobor Society of Saskatoon (DSS), in 2018-19, and 2014-15.

In 2012, Bill was interviewed for Doukhobor bread making. 
'Doukhobor tradition carries on one loaf at a time', The StarPhoenix, Saskatoon SK, August 12, 2012. 
— 60 volunteers bake and sell the 5,000 loaves produced at Saskatoon Exhibition. Interviewed: named: Bill Kalmakoff, John Tarasoff, Peter Holoboff, and Doreen Konkin.

In 2000, Bill was one of 'Eight volunteers to be honoured by Provincial Medal, Government of Saskatchewan.' 'Saskatchewan’s Lieutenant Governor, Lynda Haverstock, today announced the names of eight citizens who will receive the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal for 1999. The recipients include William Kalmakoff of Saskatoon, a well-known educator and promoter of multiculturalism, has given his time and energy to:
  • Saskatoon Doukhobor Society,
  • Doukhobor Cultural Society of Saskatchewan,
  • Saskatchewan Intercultural Society,
  • Saskatchewan Organization for Heritage Languages,
  • Multi Faith Saskatoon,
  • Saskatoon Doukhobor Society Newsletter,
  • Saskatoon Doukhobor Choral group and the barbershop singing group Chimo Chordsmen,
  • Doukhobor pavilions at the Saskatoon Exhibition and Folkfest,
  • University of Saskatchewan College of Education Leadership Unit, where after retirement as a consultant he wrote an Education Act for Indian Band Schools.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Review: Our Backs Warmed by the Sun

Book: Vera Maloff. Our Backs Warmed by the Sun: Memories of a Doukhobor Life (Halfmoon Bay, BC: Caitlin Press, 2020), 263 pp. ISBN 9781773860398.

Peter N. Maloff, 1939; and book cover.

The main hero, Peter Nikolaevich Maloff (1900-1971), was a Canadian Independent Doukhobor, a free thinker, an enthralling emotional speaker, a devout vegetarian, and one who was deeply concerned with humanity’s problems of exploitation, militarism and wars. He shared the Doukhobor historic mission of stopping wars and working to create a good society.

The author Vera Maloff (left) of Shoreacres, British Columbia, Canada, is Peter’s granddaughter. After retiring from a career in teaching, Vera began to record family stories passed down from generation to generation. Through Peter’s self-published book, interviews with her mother Elizabeth (daughter of Peter), historic photos, and news clippings, Vera recreates some of the life of her grandfather Peter whom she adores.

Peter Maloff was born in Saskatchewan to parents who witnessed the 1895 Arms Burning event in Tsarist Russia, which marked the Doukhobor community for life as a group that proclaimed to the world that humanity needs to get rid of militarism and wars once and for all.

In 1913, young Peter moved with his parents to establish the communal koloniya svobody (sovereign, or freedom colony) near Peoria, Oregon,* USA for three years. (Kolony svobody,* The Doukhboor Gazetteer). There he entered high school and developed a keen interest in working towards a war-less world where equality reigns, behaviour would be nonviolent, and caring for neighbours would be the Golden Rule that was taught by Jesus Christ and other religious figures in history.

The commune dissolved in 3 years and the Maloff family went to San Francisco, California, for 9 months where they mingled with Molokane and other sectarians from Russia. Peter learned journalism and Russian grammar by assisting Russian publisher Anton P. Cherbak (Щербаков), and meeting many educated Orthodox Russian immigrants in the city.

About 1918 Maloff returned to Canada and settled among like-minded pacifist relatives in the Thrums area of British Columbia along the Kootenay River north of Castlegar. The community was independent in thinking with a few zealot Freedomite families living nearby that did not easily fit into the orthodoxy of the Community Doukhobors, who were known up to 1938 as the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (C.C.U.B.).

The book title describes their field work in the hot sun tending to their vegetables and fruit trees. They sold their produce at markets in Nelson and Trail. They also had a horse or two, a cow, a goat and chickens. Most were vegetarians.

The book title describes their field work in the hot sun tending to their vegetables and fruit trees. They sold their produce at markets in Nelson and Trail. They also had a horse or two, a cow, a goat and chickens. Most were vegetarians.

In the early 1930s, Peter became very sympathetic to the zealot cause of striving for equality, in being against private property and some objection to public education. However, when the zealots began to burn and bomb homes and public property and used nudity as a way to gain public attention, Peter opposed this terrorism. However, he was arrested for joining a march in sympathy to the cause, and was jailed for three years in Oakalla prison. His own home was threatened with arson and some of his books were burnt.

The biggest impact on Peter’s life as well as on the livelihood of the Doukhobor community was during World War II when Peter spoke out against militarism and wars. He refused to register for the Draft and was arrested, jailed, tortured, and threatened to be sent to a mental asylum and exiled in Canada in the early 1940s to an isolated two-room primitive isolated cottage near Blewett, about 23 km northeast of Thrums. His health was broken and it took several years to regain his strength.

In 1948, Peter published a collection of Russian articles some he wrote, many he collected that he thought would be of interest to Doukhobors. The 600+ page book, often cited in literature about Doukhobors, was never published in English, except for three articles listed below, bottom.

Author Vera wrote about this neglected eyesore in Canadian history through the voice of Peter’s daughter Elizabeth (Vera's mother) who was given the task of periodically visiting her father in exile bringing him essential food for his survival. The book reads well. Vera acknowledges the professional help of editor Anne DeGrace, who generously and skillfully prepared the manuscript for the final publishing form. Teamwork worked!

The book provides a good view of life among a close community group of pacifists with perspectives on values for survival, a passion for truth and justice, peace activism, conscientious objections, upbringing in the family, marriage traditions, land ownership, market gardening, visits to Dr. Bernard Jensen’s ranch in Escondido, California, and more. Vera’s mother Elizabeth (or Leeza) is a centenarian who with probing by Vera reveals the many facets of life of a struggling family showing what it means to be an active Doukhobor in the 20th century and beyond.

I was annoyed by the folksy English spelling of several Russian words, two of which were repeated by book reviewer Ron Verzuh. In my opinion these Russian words should have been properly transliterated according to the Library of Congress, or Oxford University Press standards — borshch (soup : not borsh, or borscht), pirogi (pierogi, filled tarts, turnovers, knish : not peerahee), and lekharka (female healer : not lyeekarka). (See more examples in: New Doukhobor Song Book, with CDs, May 28, 2013.)

Overall, this is a good read on the Doukhobors illustrated by excellent historic images, with special attention to Peter N. Maloff, the brave soul who has suffered for the cause of humanity. His truth was welcomed, but long overlooked by the general public. His granddaughter Vera has done a good turn by giving a voice to a nonkilling hero. Bolshoe spasibo, Vera. Many thanks!

If Peter Maloff was alive today, he would no doubt extend his anti-militarism call to include climate change, universal health care and drug programs for all, as well as urging all of us to make war a crime against humanity. Bolshoe spasibo (A big thank you), Peter! You were a visionary.

Fun fact: Maloff Spring*, Thrums, B.C. was named after Peter N. Malloff who first filed for a permit to use the water in 1956.

* 3 links to the Doukhobor Genealogy Website, by Jonathan Kalmakoff.


Tuesday, 20 April 2021

YouTube misspelled "Doukhobor" 68 times

The word Doukhobor was misspelled 35 ways and 68 times in the YouTube closed captions for the USCC Union of Youth video: Peace and Sustainability: How Doukhobor history, culture, and community connects to the Sustainable Development Goals, (22 minutes, March 5, 2021).

22 other captioned words were also misspelled, and 2 historical mistakes were stated, totaling 92 errors.

For example, in this screenshot from minute 1:30 of the video, Doukhobor is misspelled twice in one sentence.

Correct caption: "I personally identify
as a Doukhobor, and to my knowledge, I'm
a fifth generation Doukhobor Canadian."

Closed captioning “fails” are misspellings of spoken words created by automatic voice-to-text software. These are different errors than the more than 50 ways Doukhobor was misspelled in print by people.

A total of 23 words were misspelled in the online Closed Captioning, and the time-stamped Transcript. The most obvious was how Doukhobor was misspelled 68 times, 35 different ways, never correctly. This means that anyone searching the closed caption text for the word Doukhobor will not find it.

22 other words also failed to caption correctly. Many are amusing, some phonetically spelled like Dukhoborese. 

To project a serious public image, the captions must be corrected. See links at bottom.

2 Factual Errors Appeared

These corrections were posted in the video Comments, without the links below to the references, because YouTube forbids outside links.

Count 35 different spellings of Doukhobor 68 times in YouTube “Closed Captions”.

Multiple Times (count 49)      Once Each (count 19)
 7  dukabor(s)
 6  duke aboard(s)
 4  dukabours
 4  dukeboard(s)
 4  dukeboro(s)
 3  duke of war(s)
 3  dukeboys
 2  dukabur
 2  duke abroad
 2  duca boys
 2  duke boys
duca boards
duca boars
duke bars
duke boards
duke boars
duke boris
duke of
duke of our

In the 22 minute narration, words were slightly slurred differently, especially Doukhobor. Most of the captions recognized the d, u, k, b, o, r, and s, but scrambled other letters and inserted spaces. As the clarity of voice varied, 6 repeated words (*) were captioned correctly and incorrectly.

22 Other Words
    Tsilhqot'in (Chilcotin)
    Uteshenaya (Ootischenia)   
  a lake
  call illegal
  kovid 19
* 6 words spelled correct and incorrect, depending on voice clarity.

The only solution is to edit your own YouTube video captions.