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excerpt from the Interview with FILIJOWYCZ, MARIA

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Date and Place of Birth:  Feb. 6,1957, Montreal, P.Q. Canada  
Date of Interview:   Feb.24, 2020
Place of Interview: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Length of Interview: 42 minutes
Interviewer: Roksolana Slywynska
Language: English


Interviewer: Do you consider yourself to be, and there are five choices, Ukrainian, Ukrainian Canadian, Canadian Ukrainian, Canadian, other?

Maria:  I think that has gone through various stages in my life for various reasons, probably Ukrainian Canadian at one point and now Canadian Ukrainian, why the change? Because I've gone to Ukraine and I've been there about three times. The first time obviously it was under the Soviet occupation, then I've gone there twice since then. I'm Canadian there's no question about that, I am Canadian.  And that I think has sort of changed, the people who I talk to, I primarily talk about my Ukrainian heritage. “I went to this Ukrainian function or that”, but I think that is sort of becoming the forefront that I am Canadian and I'm happy that I am.

Interviewer: How do you think your brother considers himself?

Maria: My brother considers himself definitely Ukrainian. He’s proud to be Ukrainian. He goes to all the vyshyvanky*. He goes to that and also in Montréal they have a Ukrainian weekend so he participates. And he's been to Ukraine once so he does feel definitely …. though he is very connected to my mother’s side of the family. Also he does things, see I'm living in Toronto so it's a little bit once removed right? When we get together for weddings and family events and funerals I feel connected to my mother’s (Italian) side of the family.

Interviewer: What do you like and find helpful about the Ukrainian Canadian community?

Maria: A sense of belonging, that's I think a big one because I know people will say, oh you do a lot, I wish I could. Some people have commented that sense of cohesiveness, sense of community, sense of belonging, that’s sort of is a big part.

Interviewer: What would you like to see different about the Ukrainian Canadian community?

Maria: Interesting, it'd be interesting because we tend to be a little bit insular, it’d be nice to sort of open a little more. We talk a lot about Ukraine but we have a lot of Canadian things that need to be recognized and I sometimes struggle with that, be it Remembrance Day, it needs to be mentioned, we are fortunate enough to live here, I personally think that needs to be recognized….. When one looks at other cultures or religions they're a little bit more open so even as an example, we do the Shevchenkivsky medal***, the sort of thing that KUK**does. Some of the other organizations or religious groups will give these things to outsiders that aren't necessarily within their religion or culture. I always think of the news coverages that we've had from, be it, CBC, CTV or any of those reporters. Some of those reporters, would be nice if we can recognize them as something that they've contributed to help the world know a little bit more of Ukraine.

* vyshyvanky - Ukrainian embroidered clothing
** KUK - Ukrainian acronym for Ukrainian Canadian Congress
*** medal named afterTaras Shevchenko, Ukrainian poet