Author Tags: Civil Rights
As an assistant professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Ottawa, Kathleen Rodgers wrote Welcome to Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia (UBC $95), a study that looks at the influx of idealist Americans to Canada between 1965 and 1975 who were merely draft evaders. Focussing on the West Kootenay region, Rodgers reveals how the largest group of these migrants were hoping to build a new and better egalitarian society in opposition to U.S. imperialism, materialism and capitalism. Their success remains evident throughout much of rural British Columbia. 9780774827331
Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Welcome to Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia
Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia (UBC $95)
from BCBW 2014
Having interviewed fifty-two people in the Kootenays over the course of three summers for her academic study, Welcome to Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia (UBC $95), Kathleen Rodgers has documented the motives of American refuseniks who entered Canada between 1965 and 1975 in response to the Vietnam War.
“By believing in peace, justice and meaningful ways of living,” she writes, “they showed subsequent generations that protest is not only waving a placard; it includes refusing to take part in something you don’t believe in.”
The subtitle is a tad misleading:
Rodgers has studied a specific group in a specific place at a specific time.
“This book is about the endurance of idealism,” she writes. Subjects includes Argenta Quakers, New Denver, Doukhobors, tree planting, environmentalism, reactionary intimidation, the Castlegar-based paper The Arrow and the Goat Mountain School (the first alternative school to emerge within the West Kootenay counter-culture). Interviewees include American-born NDP cabinet minister Corky Evans, long-serving New Denver Mayor Gary Wright and American-born authors Ross Klatte, Irene Mock and Herb Hammond.
From Rodgers’ sociological approach we learn:
• Conscription during the Vietnam War may have driven 100,000 young Americans to leave their country.
• Up to 14,000 Americans during the Vietnam War could have taken the ‘underground railroad’ to the Kootenays.
• Fifty thousand Americans chose to stay in Canada after the U.S. government offered amnesty to draft resisters in 1976, and forty percent settled in B.C.
• In 2006, American-born immigrants accounted for 25% of the foreign-born population of the West Kootenays.