Welcome to Resisterville author reads at the Nelson Library
Between 1965 and 1975 thousands of young Americans found their way to Canada and to British Columbia, many of them settling in the Kootenays.
Some were draft resisters, opposed to the war in Vietnam; others were disenamoured with American policy and wanted a new life where they might embrace the ideals of the 1960s counterculture.
The influx of young minds changed our valleys. On Tuesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. author and University of Ottawa sociology professor Kathleen Rodgers presents her book Welcome to Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia (UBC Press, 2014) with a talk and slide show.
The book’s title is inspired in part by the 2004 New York Times article about Nelson, headlined “Greetings from Resisterville”, in which Nelson, “a haven for free spirits”, had made the news thanks to a debacle around plans to erect a statue honouring draft dodgers.
But while for many NYT readers the article may have been their first introduction to this area, for Kootenay residents the migration of American dissidents so many years ago is simply a part of the fabric of the Kootenays along with Doukhobors, Quakers, and others seeking a new life.
“They set out to build a peaceful, egalitarian society in the Canadian wilderness and their success is still evident, as values like equality, sustainability, and creativity still define community life,” writes Rodgers.
Not everyone was welcoming, but perseverance bought respect and friendship as residents and newcomers came together in the spirit of shared community. Welcome to Resisterville explores the influx as it contributed to the character of our region today.
Rodgers will also present her book in New Denver at Knox Hall on Thursday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. Otter Books will be on hand to sell copies of Welcome to Resisterville at the Nelson Library talk, and Raven’s Nest will have copies at the New Denver talk.