Doukhobors - Economy



Doukhobors in Russia were primarily peasant farmers, though some exercised professional skills. In the Saskatchewan and British Columbia communes they usually farmed, though some men were carpenters and joiners, shoemakers, blacksmiths, harnessmakers, and so on; and women not only cooked and farmed but wove, embroidered, and made clothing. To pay the mortgages in British Columbia, many men went out of the communal villages to work on railroad section gangs, highway construction and maintenance, and in the forest industry. When the CCUB collapsed, many remained in the forest industry or drifted into related trades, taking work as builders or suppliers of building materials. By the 1950s, Doukhobors were retail merchants, teachers, and nurses; by the 1960s, some had entered legal, medical, journalistic, and academic professions. Independent Doukhobors had already entered the mainstream economy, some reaching the professional level by the 1930s. Sons of Freedom either took mostly working-class positions or depended on their vegetable Gardens and some welfare for subsistence. Most Doukhobors not living within cities buffer themselves economically by maintaining large vegetable gardens; these represent some of the most intensive noncommercial horticulture on the continent. Much is eaten, almost as much may be contributed to Community events, and a further amount is given to neighbors, friends, and guests. During the community period, all labor was divided reasonably between men and women, though the latter did fairly heavy work. Since World War II, patterns have come to resemble those in the majority culture. Elders tend to remain active and productive as long as possible, conditioned by the community motto: "Toil and Peaceful Life."


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