JOB ADVERTISEMENT: PROJECT COORDINATOR, INDIGENOUS LABOUR HISTORY RESEARCH PROJECT
The Alberta Labour History Institute (ALHI) is seeking a project coordinator to further our Indigenous Labour History research planning. The successful candidate will help to create a steering committee to establish a framework for our work, identify and make contact with potential interviewers and interviewees, and act as a liaison between ALHI and Indigenous organizations.
We are looking for an individual who has had significant involvement in Indigenous community work in Edmonton and demonstrates knowledge and interest in both Indigenous oral history and working-class history. Past experience managing projects would be a definite asset.
This is a 3-month position beginning as soon as possible. It is a 4-day-a-week position and the pay is $9,000 divided equally into three months’ pay. Please apply by writing to ALHI President Alvin Finkel at email@example.com
Below are greater details about this project, for which we have received a grant from the Edmonton Heritage Council Project Accelerator Grant to hire a project coordinator.
INDIGENOUS LABOUR HISTORY RESEARCH PLAN
The Alberta Labour History Institute (ALHI) has been collecting and disseminating working-class history since 1999, always with a focus on oral histories. While we have tried to be inclusive of all elements of society in our gathering in of workers’ stories, we have only touched the surface in tracing the stories of Indigenous workers and in relating their work experiences to the larger history of Indigenous peoples in Alberta.
In the fall of 2016, ALHI contracted with Catherine C. Cole to produce a research plan for a project to explore the history of Indigenous workers in Alberta: occupations, prejudice and discrimination, employment programs, inclusion, etc. and how ALHI might create a collection of oral histories with Indigenous workers.
Our project will start with an Indigenous concept of labour rather than a Western/European concept and include a broad spectrum of Indigenous labour experiences. We intend to establish a steering committee for the project of elders, historians, and cultural experts. Its role will be to establish the protocol for interviews, review a proposed list of questions, and determine interviewees and interviewers, including deciding whether the interviewer needs to be Indigenous or not.
To begin work on this project, we need to hire a project coordinator, ideally an Indigenous resident of Edmonton who has had significant involvement in Indigenous community work and demonstrates knowledge and interest in both Indigenous and working-class history, incorporating an oral history methodology. This would be a 4-days-a-week position for a period of three months to achieve the following:
a) Contact potential members of the steering committee and pull together a working committee. They would include Muriel Stanley Venne, ALHI Oral History committee member; Sharon Morin, Musée Heritage Museum; Robert Calder, elder, Enoch Cree Nation; Eva Beretti, elder and residential school survivor; Walter Hildebrandt, researcher for Blackfoot Nation and Edmonton resident; labour movement reps—Week One
b) Organize a workshop (Week Two) with the steering committee and potential partners on Indigenous approaches and issues with oral history as well as several follow-up meetings for that committee to discuss progress/issues—Weeks Six, Ten, Thirteen
c) Aid that committee in liaison with the ALHI executive and Board to do the work outlined above.—Weeks Four, Eight, Twelve
d) Identify and make contact with potential interviewers and interviewees (we have a provisional list for the steering committee to add to/amend).—Weeks Three, Five, Seven, Nine, Eleven
e)Introduce ALHI to as many people as possible within Indigenous communities in Edmonton who might be able to participate in some way in this project.—throughout but in particular Weeks Three, Five, Seven, Nine, Eleven
f) To help ALHI put together a full project grant that will identify costs of hiring interviewers, and of paying interviewees where culturally appropriate.—Weeks 12 and 13
The incumbent will report to the president of ALHI. The salary for this position will be $9,000 for a 3-month period. We would attempt to fill this position as soon as we receive this grant. ALHI will assume incidental costs that arise from this project.
The Edmonton Heritage Council’s mandate includes provision of “a forum for analyzing, discussing and sharing heritage issues in Edmonton.” ALHI, through its collection of interviews, which we place on our website, as well as through our workshops and conferences, plays that role in the discussion of labour heritage issues in the city. The city’s labour movement with which we work closely influences perceptions of who Edmontonians are and what they have accomplished. There is a clear public benefit in bringing together Indigenous workers and the labour movement to weave together stories that are often treated as mutually exclusive. Indigenous people are largely absent from current presentations of the work history of our city. That contributes to stereotypes that work against reconciliation of the rest of society with the descendants of our first peoples. We know that Indigenous peoples have contributed both in unique ways and in unity with others to building the Edmonton community and we need to both celebrate and explore their work stories, led by them but with active collaboration with the labour movement.