Fonds PR2400 - Halyna Freeland fonds

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Halyna Freeland fonds

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    • 1970-1990 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    35.40 m of textual records, 14 audio cassettes

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    Biographical history

    Halyna Chomiak Freeland was born to parents Mykhailo and Alexandra (Loban) Chomiak in Blonhofen Displaced Persons Camp, Bad Worishoffen, Germany on September 2, 1946. In October 1948 her family immigrated to Canada and settled in Cherhill, Alberta before moving to Edmonton. Her family was very active in the Ukrainian community with her father establishing major Ukrainian institutions and her mother writing books for children. Halyna Freeland continued her parents' community work by becoming a leader in the Ukrainian community. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy in 1967 and a Law degree in 1970. She was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1971. In addition to working as a lawyer from 1971 to the late 1990's practicing criminal and family law first in Peace River and later in Edmonton, Halyna Freeland was an activist, a teacher, a student, a community organizer, a bookstore founder, a cooperative housing pioneer, a politician and international legal reformer, and a leader in the Ukrainian, feminist and leftist communities in Alberta.

    During her legal career, Halyna Freeland played an instrumental role in the passing of the Matrimonial Property Act for the Province of Alberta. She was guided by a deep sense of social justice and became very active on several legal boards and societies, such as the Peace River Legal Aid Society, the Legal Aid Society of Alberta (Northern Director, 1978-1979), the Alberta Law Foundation, the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, and the Women's Legal Education Action Fund. In the 1988 federal election she was the New Democratic Party's candidate for Edmonton Strathcona and involved the largest number of volunteers ever in a Canadian federal election campaign. From 1990 to 1992 she pursued a Master of Arts degree in Slavic and East European Studies at the University of Alberta. In 1992 she moved to Ukraine where she initiated the Ukrainian Legal Foundation, a non-profit organization to help create the rule of law in democratic Ukraine, and served as its Executive Officer establishing a legal library, a legal printing press, international legal exchange programs and a law school. From 1992 to 2002, she participated in drafting the Constitution of Ukraine and its Civil and Criminal Procedure Codes.

    As a feminist, Halyna Freeland founded the Common Woman Bookstores Ltd , a non-profit feminist bookstore operated on a collective basis; she taught courses on Feminist Theory and Women and the Law at the University of Alberta from 1981 to 1987, and published essays and handbooks on Matrimonial Property, Domestic Violence, and Family Law. In 1983 she founded and served later as a Director the Alberta Women's News Magazine. She was also a founding member of the Ukrainian-Canadian feminist organization, the Second Wreath Society.

    As an active member of Ukrainian-Canadian cultural life, Halyna Freeland founded the Peace River Ukrainian Society, was a founding member of the Hromada Housing Cooperative and served on the Ukrainian Community Development Committee. She was a single mother and raised two daughters. She passed away in New York City on July 6, 2007.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of Halyna Freeland's personal papers, including her appointment books, daily journal, agendas, her clients' legal files, and files from her New Democratic Party election campaign; as well as records she collected on women's rights, on rights for Indigenous women, international issues on women, on fighting violence against women, and on Ukrainian studies.

    The fonds also includes operational files from the Common Woman Bookstores Ltd; operational files of the Alberta Women's News Magazine and copies of this magazine; operational records from the Alberta Law Foundation; records from the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, from the Institute of Law Research and Reform on children and women; as well as from the Hromada Housing Cooperative.

    The fonds is of outstanding significance and national importance by reason of its unique content on Canadian history and politics, women’s rights, rights of Indigenous peoples and people of colour, and because of Halyna Freeland’s impact on feminism in Alberta and Ukraine.

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    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Halyna Freeland donated the records to the Provincial Archives of Alberta in 1995.


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        The material is in English.

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        Access Conditions: Some records are restricted.

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        Use Conditions: Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

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        Inventory is available.

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        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Information for the biographical sketch was taken from the curriculum vitae submitted at the time of donation, from the records, from an article entitled "Life and Times" published by the Edmonton Journal on July 14, 2007, B1 and B10, and from Ms. Freeland's obituary published by the Edmonton Journal on July 12, 2007.

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        Includes accession PR1995.0199.

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