Multiculturalism, Memory, and Ritualization: Ukrainian Nationalist Monuments in Edmonton, Alberta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Canadians of Ukrainian descent constitute a significant part of the population of the Albertan capital. Among other things, their presence is felt in the public space as Ukrainian monuments constitute a part of the landscape. The article studies three key monuments, physical manifestations of the ideology of local Ukrainian nationalist elites in Edmonton: a 1973 monument to nationalist leader Roman Shukhevych, a 1976 memorial constructed by the Ukrainian Waffen-SS in Edmonton, and a 1983 memorial to the 1932–1933 famine in the Ukrainian SSR. Representing a narrative of suffering, resistance, and redemption, all three monuments were organized by the same activists and are representative for the selective memory of an “ethnic” elite, which presents nationalist ideology as authentic Ukrainian cultural heritage. The narrative is based partly upon an uncritical cult of totalitarian, anti-Semitic, and terroristic political figures, whose war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and collaboration with Nazi Germany the nationalists deny and obfuscate. The article argues that government support and direct public funding has strengthened the radicals within the community and helped promulgate their mythology. In the case of the Ukrainian Canadian political elite, official multiculturalism underwrites a narrative at odds with the liberal democratic values it was intended to promote. The failure to deconstruct the “ethnic” building blocks of Canadian multiculturalism and the willingness to accept at face value the primordial claims and nationalist myths of “ethnic” groups has given Canadian multiculturalism the character of multi-nationalism.


External organisations
  • University of Greifswald
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History


  • Ukrainian-Canadian, multiculturalism, multinationalism, monuments, memory, nationalism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-768
Number of pages36
JournalNationalities Papers
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes