October 22, 2017 - Edmonton, Alberta - 250th Anniversary of Norka

Celebrating the 250th Anniversary of the
Founding of the Volga German

Colony of Norka

Sunday, 22 October 2017
Stony Plain, Alberta

The Volga German Institute at Fairfield University is hosting a celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the founding of Norka.  This event will be a half-day seminar series held near Edmonton, Alberta, on Sunday afternoon, 22 October 2017.  It will be held at Hope Christian Reformed Church in Stony Plain, Alberta - a congregation founded in 1908 by Volga German immigrants who came primarily from the colony of Norka.

The public is invited to attend.


All events will be held at:

Hope Christian Reformed Church
corner of Yellowhead Highway 16 West & Highway 779 (5th Meridian)
Stony Plain, Alberta

Hope Christian Reformed Church is located approximately 6 kilometers north of Stony Plain and 25 kilometers west of Edmonton.


Registration for the day, including all presentations and a light dinner service, is CAN$15.00 per person.  E-transfer, PayPal, cheque, and cash are being accepted. Cheques should be made payable to either Reuben Miller or Robyn Morales. Receipts will be provided upon request. 

To ensure your meal ticket, please RSVP before October 14 October 2017 to:

Robyn Morales
17149 109 St NW
Edmonton, AB T5X 3E2
call or text: 780.264.3734
or Reuben Miller
129 Westerra Terrace
Stony Plain, AB T7Z 2Z7
call or text: 780.868.5800


Dr. Brent Mai

Reuben Bauer

Dr. Brent Mai serves as the Dean of Libraries and University Librarian at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, where he also leads the Volga German Institute.  Dr. Mai has spoken world-wide on many topics related to Volga German history and culture, authored dozens of articles and several books, and translated hundreds of documents. Dr. Mai, whose father's side is Volga German, grew up in Western Kansas, graduated from Bethany College in Lindsborg, and continued graduate studies at George Washington University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Vanderbilt University. He came to Fairfield from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, where he had been the founding director of the Center for Volga German Studies.

Reuben Bauer was born in Stony Plain. Both of his parents were born in the Volga German colony of Norka. He holds degrees from the University of Alberta. Reuben was a teacher in Stony Plain (public school) and Edmonton (four years in the Catholic School System) as well as employed by the Government of Canada in teaching positions at First Nation Schools. He is a prolific researcher, author, historian and photographer. He is extremely active in the Germans from Russia culture. His latest 3-volume series of German-Russian Norka biographies will be released, shortly.

Schedule for Sunday, 22 October 2017

1:00 Registration & Visiting
1:30 Session 1: Introduction and Norka Language Demo
1:45 Session 2: "Brief Overview of the German-Russian Immigrants to Stony Plain" by Reuben Bauer
Reuben will be talking about the German-Russians from Norka, who came to Stony Plain, Alberta as early as 1898 and onward. Here they gathered to form a congregation which was organized in 1908. A short time after that, they built a physical building which stands today. More Volga families moved into the area creating a strong vibrant German-Russian community. Reuben will trace briefly their history from Hessen, Germany to the Volga and their eventual migration to Canada and ultimately their successes and failures of survival in the area of Stony Plain. He will expound on the impact this cultural group had on the local community and influences on society in general, including the political life, agriculture, social life, net-working, education, economics, an ageing population, etc. Reuben will draw upon concrete examples of the foregoing impact. Reuben will also give a brief review of the current position of the German-Russian heritage and the future of this cultural group in this area.
2:30 Break
3:00 Session 3: "Norka and Her Descendants: Then and Now" by Brent Mai
The Volga German colony of Norka was founded on 15 August 1767. This year marks the 250th Anniversary of the arrival of those hearty pioneers on the Russian Steppe. Beginning in 1875, their descendants began exploration of North and South America in search of a new home. Many settled in the Canada and the United States. Others went to Argentina. In August and September of 1941, those who remained in Norka were deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan, and their descendants now live in Asiatic Russia and the former Soviet Republics and some have immigrated back to Germany as well as Canada, and the United States. During this session, we will delve into the history of Norka and her descendants.
4:45 Session 4: Presentation by Marina Webber Ponto
Marina Webber's ancestors from Norka were caught up in the 1941 deportation and began a new life in Siberia in the village of Gonohovo which was settled by mostly Norka families. Marina was born there and will share her experiences growing up in Siberia and immigrating to Canada.
5:30 Light Meal Service (for ticket holders)
6:30 Wrap-up

Area Hotels

For assistance with booking accommodations, please contact either Robyn or Reuben (above).