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happened in Drake, Saskatchewan?
basic situation is simple. Erhard
Schroeder was a Mennonite who came to Canada in 1926 from the
Ukraine and settled in the small town of Drake, SK. He had trained
as a teacher, but his English wasn't good enough to teach in Canada.
He worked other jobs until 1940, when he accepted an invitation
to teach in a winter Bible School. He taught in German.
happened next is not so simple. What we know about any event depends
on our sources. A source can be a person, a letter, a newspaper
article, or a photograph. Each source needs to be interpreted, because
they don't always tell the whole story. That doesn't mean that the
sources are wrong, only that they may be leaving out information.
example, imagine that someone told you this story: “Ben was at a
birthday party. He took the last piece of cake. And it wasn't even
his party!” That might make you think that Ben is selfish. But what
if the story went like this: “Ben was at a birthday party. He took
the last piece of cake only after he made sure everyone else had
had enough.” In both stories, Ben ate the last piece of cake, but
one makes him look bad while the other makes him look good.
same applies to the sources about the incident in Drake. One group
wants to make the Mennonites look bad while the Mennonites want
to make themselves look good.
is what happened, in the words of the Montreal newspaper
the Daily Standard:
studies” are no longer being conducted at the German-English Bible
school at the town of Drake as the result of a visit recently
of a group of vigilantes described merely as a “group of men.”
group of men who visited the school saw to it that the teacher
of the school, a young man from the town of Rosthern, left Drake
was that feeling was running high in the Drake district which
was settled many years ago by large numbers of Mennonites. There
were rumors of German activity.
re-opening of the German-English Bible school, as it was called,
brought matters to a head. Suspicious of the purpose of the school,
a group of men paid a surprise visit, knocking at the door while
the school was in progress.
teacher invited the man in and when asked, explained he was conducting
a German and English Bible school.
visitors looked around. On the blackboards they could see only
German writing. In the exercise books of the children, only German
writing. The text books were in German and of a half dozen examined,
none of them was the Bible. If there were any Bibles in the classroom,
the visitors did not see them.
group of men, turning to the class declared that the English language
was good enough for everyone in this country and could be learned
in school. The teacher was invited to take the next train back
protested that he did not have the money to buy a railroad ticket.
The men bought a ticket for him and saw that he left on the train.
On the platform at the station, they sang “O Canada” as the train
do you think of this newspaper article? Does it seem fair, or is
it one-sided? Compare this article to some other versions of the
event. (Read another article reporting
the same event).
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