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Kinship, Society and Land Selection

Ukrainian group, Cardiff, Alberta, ca 1910s. Mr. Steve Chaban (2) seated left. Mrs. Teklia Chaban (1) seated 2nd from right holding child. The high priority Ukrainian settlers placed upon the company of their fellows -- kinsmen, fellow villagers, residents of the same district, and co-religionists -- also added to their propensity for settling marginal and sub-marginal land. While the first immigrants to settle an area usually selected reasonably good land, those who followed them were prepared to accept poorer land provided they could remain within the social/cultural milieu of their choice. Some immigrants were even prepared to abandon improved homesteads to join friends and relatives. Only after Canadian tastes and aspirations had been assimilated did the quality of land become more important than the social environment. When this happened the bloc settlements stopped expanding.

Although all settlers sought the company of their countrymen, the degree to which Ukrainians reproduced kinship, village, district and provincial/religious affiliations in their settlements was unusual. Immigrants bearing the same surname frequently settled next to one another. Their closest neighbours tended to be non-relatives from the same village or more frequently from the same district. Moreover, Galicians and Bukovynians lived in almost total separation and rarely mixed because of traditional prejudices, and differences in religion and popular culture.

There was also a symbiotic relationship among the various ethnic groups from Galicia and Bukovyna. As the case of Pylypow and the Star colony illustrates, Ukrainians tended to settle near established Galician German settlers. Poles settled among Galician Ukrainians while Rumenians settled among Bukovynian Ukrainians because of similarities of religion, familiarity with the language and common folkways. Prior to the 1920s relations between the groups of peasant settlers seem to have been amicable.

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