Single event tickets are now available at the door
*If you are planning to come to this history making event and would like support it further with a donation, please click on the button below.
*If you are unable to attend the event, yet would like to support it, please click the button below to make a donation.
Or send a cheque or money order to:
"Peace Event 2006 Society"
P.O. Box 113
Nelson, BC V1L 5P7
For information on making a tax deductable contribution call (250)352-1187
From 1965-1973 more than 100,000 draft-age Americans made their way to Canada, refusing to participate in the Vietnam War, an immoral war. At the time, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said: "Those who make the conscientious judgment that they must not participate in this war... have my complete sympathy, and indeed our political approach has been to give them access to Canada. Canada should be a refuge from militarism."
"George McGovern is one of the greatest humanitarians of our time. He still imparts to us the power... and the courage of his convictions."
William Jefferson Clinton
42nd President of the United States
We are honoured to annouce that George McGovern will be an Our Way Home Reunion Keynote Speaker.
George McGovern was the 1972
Democratic presidential nominee and will long be remembered for his
courage in speaking out against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
"I think it's important to remember the lessons of the Vietnam War - A war where we are finding even some of the major architects are now saying the war was a tragic mistake. We need to remember the sacrifices of the young men who died, as well as the courage and wisdom of those who stood up against this mistaken conflict. That is why I am coming to (the Our Way Home Reunion) Castlegar, BC on July 8th."
The Our Way Home Reunion is honoured to bring special guest, Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, co-founder and president of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, Memphis, Tennessee.
"I would like to express my thanks to Canadians for opening their borders and providing sanctuary and a new home to American war resisters who, out of conscience, opposed the Vietnam War. For many of those resisters it meant the beginning of new lives. I hope you will continue to welcome those who come to Canada out of conscience, and particularly those who come now to resist the conflict in Iraq. And I urge you to support your community leaders who have leant their names to the reunion event, Our Way Home Reunion," being planned for July 2006. I, too, lend my support to this event, which will, for the first time, bring together those who resisted the Vietnam War and the courageous Canadians who helped them upon their arrival. I also applaud the efforts of the organizers of this reunion weekend, which will rightly honour those war resisters who have made important and long-lasting contributions to your community and your country."
Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and Founder and President of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, Tennessee
"Remembering and Thanking US Senator George McGovern, Keynote Speaker, 2006 Our Way Home Peace Event and Reunion. (Photo taken July 8, 2006 OWH Event media news conference: Left: OWH director, Isaac Romano; Right: US Senator George McGovern)."
A tribute to the US immigrants that came to Canada during the Vietnam War and to the thousands of Canadians that assisted them.
The Our Way Home Reunion Event
The world's attention is centered on this cross-borders peace event being planned for July 6th to 9th, 2006 at the Brilliant Cultural Center in the community of Brilliant, part of the city of Castlegar, British Columbia, Canada.
We invite you to participate in the Our Way Home National Reunion Weekend. This event will mark the courageous legacy and honour the contribution made to Canadian life by the US war resisters who came to Canada during the Vietnam War. The Our Way Home Reunion will also honour the courage of those resisting current US militarism by seeking safe haven in Canada now, during the US war in Iraq. The Our Way Home Reunion will honour the thousands of Canadians who helped them resettle in this country, both then and now.
Our Way Home Reunion will be held from July 6th to 9th, 2006, and include workshops, keynote presentations, panel-discussions, on-stage theatre performances, a film festival and a major peace concert.
This event will provide an opportunity for those who came to canada as war resisters during the vietnam war to be reunited with those who assisted them in Canada.
The Vietnam War, and the widespread war resistance it spurred, proved a turning point in Canada's development as a nation. In an assertion of sovereignty in its post-WWII relationship with the United States, Canada opened its border and provided Americans with an opportunity to oppose the Vietnam War by moving to a new country and starting new lives.
From 1965-1973, more than 100,000 draft-age Americans who refused to participate in the Vietnam War made their way to Canada. More than half of those who came remain in the country today. Many of them settled in rural areas, becoming part of the 'back to the land' movement of the late sixties and seventies. Others gravitated to Canada's urban centres, and continue to work promoting and maintaining the kind of social justice they experienced upon arrival to this country.
At the time, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said: "Those who make the conscientious judgment that they must not participate in this war... have my complete sympathy, and indeed our political approach has been to give them access to Canada. Canada should be a refuge from militarism."
WHY CASTLEGAR, BC FOR THIS PEACE EVENT?
We are pleased to hold this event at the Brilliant Cultural Centre, a beautiful performance hall in the community of Brilliant, part of the city of Castlegar, B.C. Canada. The Brilliant Cultural Centre was founded by the Doukhobor population of the region, whose ancestors fled Russia in 1899 after destroying their weapons as a demonstration of their refusal to fight in the Tsarist Army. Russian author Leo Tolstoy was responsible for helping pay for the Doukhobors travel as new immigrants to Canada.
The towns of Castlegar and nearby Nelson, BC and the surrounding region of the West Kootenays were a leading terminus in what was known as the "Underground Railroad". It is estimated that as many as 14,000 US war resisters came to the area at the height of US immigration to Canada during the Vietnam War. New arrivals were frequently welcomed and assisted by members of two resident pacifist groups, the Doukhobors and the Quakers, the latter having earlier settled in the area after fleeing the US during the McCarthy period.
The community of Brilliant, part of the city of Castlegar is located on the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers, and surrounded by mountains. The present day West Kootenay Region, with an estimated population of 40,000, consists of many communities rich in arts, cultural life and an activism rooted in the contributions of the numerous US expatriates that have made the area their home. Large numbers of Vietnam era US expatriates continue to live in Castlegar, the neighbouring town of Nelson, and throughout the smaller rural communities of the West Kootenays.
WHERE IS CASTLEGAR?
Castlegar can be accessed by all current methods of transportation.
Canada has long served as a safe haven for those refusing to participate in war. When the US attack on Vietnam (and all of Indochina) was underway, Canada welcomed tens of thousands of young Americans who were resisting that war. Due to the growing militarism of US foreign policy, especially its illegal attack on Iraq, Canadians can expect to see more Americans of conscience coming across our border for years to come.
Our Way Home Reunion was created to:
Honour US war resisters from the Vietnam & Indochina war era and their significant contribution to Canada - as well as their choosing the non-violent path of resisting the war.
Honour those who assisted US war resisters who came to Canada - groups such as Quakers, Mennonites, Unitarians, Doukhabours, other groups and the thousands of individual Canadians who provided assistance and support.
Conduct a public education campaign in order to prepare Canadians to support war resisters . now and in the future.
To accomplish these goals, Our Way Home Reunion will organize a number of events in Nelson, B.C. July 6-9, 2006 which will include, but not be limited to:
A reunion for US war resisters - and those who assisted them - to be together and to share their stories.
Workshops, panel discussions, theatre performances, films and keynote presentations that will contribute to knowledge and understanding of previous war resistance and connect that understanding to action in today's world.
A public music concert for peace.
To promote healing and reconciliation between War Resisters and Veterans. Through voluntary participation, some will join in a facilitated process that creates a safe space to hear each others' stories.