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For many, the Doukhobor story is a sensational one: arson, nudity, and civil disobedience once made headlines. But it isn’t the whole story. In Our Backs Warmed by the Sun, the author, Vera, through the stories of her mother Elizabeth, describes a wholly activist life. The Doukhobors led anti-military protests throughout the early 1900s, harboured draft dodgers in the 60s, and stood up for their beliefs. In response, they were hosed down, arrested, and jailed. Vera learns of the confusion and fear when, as a child, Elizabeth's father served time in prison for charges related to a peaceful protest, and of her loneliness when she was institutionalized—one of a series of Canadian government efforts in assimilation. By removing the children, it was believed, the cycle of protest and resistance could be broken. Elizabeth’s story is also one of a small but thriving Kootenay community, and of the experiences of a family who stood by their beliefs.
About the Author
Vera Maloff was born into a Doukhobor family in the Kootenay valley of British Columbia. After retiring from a career in teaching, Vera began to record family stories and her essays have been published in several periodicals. Vera lives on the Slocan River, where she continues the family traditions of gardening, singing in Doukhobor community choirs, and participating in peace gatherings and cooking groups.