Manitoba Mennonite archives and Canadian Mennonite collectibe Memory

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Kroeker, Don.
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The construction of a collective memory is often the result of conflict between opposing groups with differing agendas but collective memory can also serve as a unifying force that provides a society with inspirational symbols in a time of crisis. Although archives contain many of the materials out of which collective memory is constructed, the literature is still largely silent about the contributions that they make to this process. This thesis focuses on two Mennonite archives in Winnipeg, Manitoba and the attempts that they have made to assist in the construction of a collective memory for their respective denominations. Mennonite archives face two main problems. First, they serve Protestant denominations with an active interest in missions and social issues and are often forced to defend the spiritual necessity of preserving the past. Second, Mennonites are often uncertain as to whether they should be defined by their religious faith or their ethnicity. Many Mennonite leaders are reluctant to commemorate their ethnic heritage out of a fear that such an emphasis might prevent cross-cultural outreach. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)