A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
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Má vlast (My Homeland): The Jiraneks In Canada

Director: Dorothy Dickie

About the Film
Dorothy Dickie's A Doukhobor Story is a personal journey into the fascinating life experiences of her Russian great-grandfather. In April of 1899, Vany and Loosha Perverseff came to Canada with 2,300 other Doukhobors, the third and final wave of Doukhobor immigrants to Canada.

Simple, devout, mostly illiterate peasants, the Doukhobors were pacifists, and refused to join the Czar Nicholas II's military. For this, and their rejection of the authority and corruption of the Russian Orthodox Church, many Doukhobors, including members of Vanya's family, were forced from their land, arrested and tortured. The Perverseffs settled in Saskatchewan and started a new life as farmers with the assurance of freedom, but eventually the community experienced radical differences of opinion and splintered into three separate groups.

The Perverseffs chose the way of progress. Although Doukhobors were mostly illiterate, Vanya pursued a life-long love of learning and helped to establish the first school for Doukhobor children in his district. He passed on his love of learning to his children and his eldest son later become one of the first Doukhobor medical doctors to graduate in Canada.

Filmmaker Dorothy Dickie leads us through the mystery of early Canadian Doukhobor life with an evocative mix of first person reminiscences, archival footage and lovely scenic landscapes. A labour of love, Wrestling with the Spirit was inspired during the centennial year of the Doukhobors arrival in Canada when Dorothy attended the funeral of her grandmother in Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan, where the original family homestead still stands.

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