Celebrating immigration and preserving history

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Celebrating immigration and preserving history

Immigration is always a touchy topic with some people. It’s all too easy to forget that at some point in anyones family history we are all the product of immigration. You might have to go back a few generations but virtually everyone alive today can trace their roots back to some distant land. Our ancestors roamed the world in search of better opportunities. Some sought to escape conflict or war or persecution. Rosann Pellegrino is a history buff and her family history tells the struggle of immigrants coming to a new land. 
Rosann’s father arrived in America in 1939, just a few weeks before World War 2. Italians were considered the enemy so any new immigrants were forced to report to police every few weeks to track their activities. The parallels to what goes on today with immigrants can not be understated. Harsh climate and difficult jobs faced many, and yet the Italian settlers thrived and settled in many areas of Canada. 

Knowing one’s history and celebrating unique cultures creates a very diverse and colourful community. In the 1950’s many new residents were still being treated as second class citizens, but were very valuable in supplying labour and thus growing an economy. In Schreiber, many of the local businesses were founded and still run by some of the original families of the time. 

When preserving history, the role of technology is very important. In our modern world, tablets and computers have replaced pen and paper so being able to archive information has taken on a new significance. Modern cell phones are the new cameras and video recorders and as Rosann recalls, it wasn’t terribly long ago when you would take photos, send off the film for developing, and finally waiting for maybe weeks to receive your prints. In small towns the wait  might have been even longer as most of this had to be done through post or courier. With the current state of tech, we no longer feel the isolation that our earlier relatives felt. We are all connected in new ways and this somehow can be one of the advantages of choosing to live in a smaller rural community. The physical act of moving about, looking for work  shopping or visiting family has become virtual. One might even suggest that technology has allowed us to explore new worlds and countries without ever leaving home. The preserving of history remains basically the same and is still as important, it’s only the tools that have changed.


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Schreiber Community Media is a non profit organization established with the aim of providing media production services and training for the residents of Schreiber and surrounding areas.  Schreiber is located on the north shore of Lake Superior approximately two hours east of Thunder Bay. 

The Schreiber Media Centre is locating in the Schreiber Public Library and includes tools for  recording, live streaming and post production of audio and video. 

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Video Upload Date: 12 Jan 2021

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