Indians at Work: An Informal History of Native Indian Labour in B.C.

Knight, Rolf
Publisher:  New Star Books, Vancouver, Canada
Year Published:  1979
Pages:  317pp   Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX2073

It's a commonly held belief that with the coming of the white man, Indians retreated to their isolated reserves as they were unable to contribute or cope with industrial development.

'Indians at Work' disputes this view, and through evidence of Indian participation in industries such as lumbering, construction, longshoring, commercial fishing, and canning, proves it to be a romantic misconception.

The period covered is from the beginning of the gold rush to the great depression, and the study is based on company records, Indians band documents, local histories, and personal biographies. Archival material and anthropological reports are also used. Some of the more prominent B.C. Indian leaders of the time are discussed. There is also a comparative section which surveys the situations of Indian people elsewhere in Canada.

The traditional and cultural aspects of the Indian heritage are also discussed, but the book seeks to uncover a whole aspect of Indian life - Indians as workers and independent producers in virtually all of B.C. major industries right from the start - that has been hidden in history.

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