The impact of the war in Ukraine has broken the hearts of all communities across Edmonton, not only the Ukrainian communities. Alberta, who has the largest population of Ukrainians in Canada has felt the anguish and sorrow of Ukrainian people and has also seen the unity and comradery of supporters across cultures.

The beauty of the Kokum scarf holds the historical symbolism of strength, friendship, unity, and respect. The Kokum scarf in Ukrainian is referred to as “babushka” to many, meaning Grandmother. The Oral history has been passed down to be by my own Ukrainian ancestors when they too were isolated and looked down upon similarly to First Nations people. The story is that through support for one another’s community the Kokum scarf was gifted as a sign of appreciation for the guidance and medicine shared to Ukrainians. 

The impact of the war in Ukraine impacts all communities in Alberta, like the Kokum scarf represents… We are all connected. 

What you can do to support your mental health and others’ during this time:

  1. Acknowledge and allow your feelings to guide you to support.
  2. Talk! Talk about your feelings, the impact, share the sorrow, anxieties, and fears with others.
  3. Listen to one another with an open heart, lean into one other for connection and understanding.
  4. Attend, or host social events. Get together with loved ones (online or otherwise).
  5. Take care of your mind and body, stay active, eat well, nurture your body and mind.

Where to learn more about the relationship between Indigenous and Ukrainian communities in Alberta: 

 

https://www.shumka.com/dancing-on-eggshells

https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/remembering-good-relations-first-nations-canada-show-their-solidarity-ukrainians

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/kokum-scarf-ukraine-support-1.6367409