"Hardship to Freedom" is a documentary celebrating the spirit of the Ukrainian pioneers and their immigration to North Dakota in the early 1900's. 

Hardship to Freedom is available for purchase on DVD, through the Ukrainian Cultural Institute in Dickinson, ND.  Pricing is $25 for one copy of the DVD, $20 each for two or more, plus shipping.

Please call or write:

Ukrainian Cultural Institute

1221 West Villard Street

Dickinson, ND 58601

(701) 483-1486

Video preview of the documentary Hardship to Freedom.

In the beginning of the 20th century, after more than 200 years of Russian rule, a great part of the population of Ukraine continued to be suppressed to serfdom. Hardship to Freedom, a sixty-minute documentary, illustrates a focus on the population of Ukrainian immigrants who homesteaded on the prairie of western North Dakota in the early 1900s to pursue their dreams as citizens of the United States.  These immigrants, primarily farm workers and merchants, were enticed by the offer of free land available through the Homestead Act of 1862.

Inspired by recordings and the book Ukrainians in North Dakota In Their Voices, written by Agnes Palanuk, Hardship to Freedom features stories in the voices of these Ukrainian pioneers. Recordings conducted by Ms. Palanuk in the 1980s of western North Dakota residents are combined with new video interviews captured by Ken Howie. The residents were raised on these homesteads, many of which are celebrating 100 year anniversaries. The stories from the interviews are first hand accounts of the experiences that describe the hardships that became payment for the freedom the Ukrainians sought. These stories represent the determination of people forced to prosper on marginal agricultural plots of land in what was possibly the harshest environment of the circa 1910 United States.

Hardship to Freedom also explores how this colorful culture from another hemisphere has survived a century of time, encapsulating the treasure in which the state of North Dakota has shown pride.  The documentary further illustrates how the local Ukrainian culture continues to thrive by interacting with the educational community and the state of North Dakota.