ETHNIC IDENTITY IN
SASKATCHEWAN BLOC
SETTLEMENTS: A SOCIOLOGICAL
APPRAISAL

Alan B. Anderson


Introduction

Too often Canadian sociologists have revealed a tendency to accept without question the popular notion that Canadian society represents a "cultural mosaic" (as opposed to the American "melting pot"), wherein each ethnic group retains its distinct identity. Canadian sociological literature includes many studies of immigrant adaptation in the larger central Canadian cities, as well as a variety of socio-historical studies of ethnic settlements in western Canada. 1 Yet relatively little attention has been devoted to the changing nature of ethnic heterogeneity in Canada. How long will the immigrant reception areas and ethnic settlements persist? In western Canada, while a substantial proportion of the total rural population in each province continue to live within distinct ethnic bloc settlements, has their attitude toward their ethnic identity been changing? Which ethnic groups resist assimilation or integration most effectively, and why? Within the limited scope of this brief presentation, we can hardly pretend to answer such comprehensive questions in any detail. However, the ultimate aim of this chapter is to contribute towards a better understanding of the processes of ethnic identity change in the West. Brevity necessarily restricts our endeavour to a particular case study of a single prairie region in Saskatchewan. Thus our concern will be specifically with contrasting generation differences in ethnic identity retention or change in eighteen ethno-religious bloc settlements situated in the heterogeneous north-central region of Saskatchewan.

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