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Of Russian origin, a pacifist sect rejecting the orthodoxy of established religion of the 17th and 18th century (they believed that God dwells in each person and not in the church) and also rejected secular governments. After many years of persecution a group of 7400 sailed to Canada in 1898-99 and settled in Saskatchewan. When it became clear that they would have to take an oath of allegiance in order to homestead the land, most objected and moved to British Columbia in 1908. Here the group established a complex pattern of communal living. Extremists among the group (the Sons of Freedom) continued to reject government regulation and were in conflict with the government over compulsory schooling, registration of births and taxes, for several decades. Many were arrested, a special prison was established and many children taken into care. Some stability returned to the community in the 1970's and the Sons of Freedom and the more orthodox Doukhobors live in the interior of British Columbia in relative harmony. In 1996 the government of British Columbia made it possible for Doukhobor communities to hold land without paying taxes. In place of taxes they would pay a fee for government services.

Last updated 2002--0-9-

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Athabaca University ICAAP

© Robert Drislane, Ph.D. and Gary Parkinson, Ph.D.
The online version of this dictionary is a product of
Athabasca University and

*This social science dictionary has 1000
entries covering the disciplines of sociology, criminology, political
science and women's study with a commitment to Canadian examples and
events and names