The Polish minority group in Canada and its hierarchy of core values

Joanna Lustanski


This article examines the ethnic identity of the Polish minority group living in Canada in the last two decades, that is, after 1989 when Poland replaced the Communist system and Poles were allowed to freely leave the country. On the basis of the survey distributed among representatives of two generations
of Poles in Canada, I examine how the participants position themselves with respect to core values of ethnicity-language, religion, and culture. The results of my study show that respondents themselves break the stereotypical vision of
Polish identity in which language matters are central. They explicitly indicate respecting Polish traditions and customs as the most fundamental token of Polish ethnic identity, placing the value of the Polish language - identified by speaking Polish and teaching children Polish - in second and third positions. The ethno-cultural orientation which they present can be accounted for in two fundamental ways: I) the socio-historical past of the community and 2) the specific characteristics of Canada as a country of settlement.


Ethnic identity, Polish minority group, Polish Canadians, language

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