Ep. 9: Indigenous Longshoremen & the I.W.W.
Play • 22 min

June is Indigenous History Month in Canada, and this year, the country has been rocked by the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of Indigenous children who attended residential school over the decades. This edition of On the Line takes note of Indigenous History month with a different aspect of BC's Indigenous history: one that is not tragic, and not very well known. We examine the contribution of Indigenous workers to the port of Vancouver, particularly in the first half of the 20th century, largely through the voices of those who worked the waterfront - and it's a union story, too. In 1906, the independent Lumber Handlers Union was established as local 526 of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), with most of the 50 or 60 members being Indigenous. This is their story.

Learn more: https://www.labourheritagecentre.ca/bows/

FEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond.
"There is Power in a Union" written by Joe Hill (I.W.W.), performed by Joe Glazer & Bill Friedland, 1954, "Songs of the Wobblies" LP Record.

INTERVIEWS: Clips from the ILWU Canada Podcast "The Docker" episode 33. Full episode: https://thedockerpodcast.libsyn.com/ep33-first-nations-history-on-vancouvers-waterfront
Delbert Guerin interview is part of the (Re)Claiming the New Westminster Waterfront collection at the New Westminster Museum & Archives and Simon Fraser University.

RESEARCH: Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr & Rod Mickleburgh.
Parnaby, Andrew. Citizen Docker : Making a New Deal on the Vancouver Waterfront, 1919-1939 / Andrew Parnaby. University of Toronto Press, 2008.
ILWU Local 500 Pensioners. (1975) Man along the shore! : The story of the Vancouver waterfront : As told by longshoremen themselves : 1860's - 1975. College Printers - 2015 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C.
Rod Mickleburgh. (2018) On the Line: A History of the BC Labour Movement. BC Labour Heritage Society, Harbour Publishing.




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