Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Indigenous Labour Organizing in Saskatchewan: Red Baiting and Red Herrings

Document type Article
Author Pitawanakwat, Brock
Journal New Socialist
Volume 58
Date 2006 Sept. Oct.
Pages 32-33


An indigenous woman and former employee with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) recently confided her frustration with the apathetic approach to collective organizing amongst her co-workers. When asking her colleagues why they did not want a union to represent them, a frequent reply was that it was “not our way.” In other words, organizing to protect workers’ rights is “un-indigenous.” That these views have taken root among employees is indicative of the seductive sway that fixed notions of tradition hold on indigenous people. Many of us fear being accused of what the Plains Cree refer to as moniyakaso; that is, “acting or behaving as a white person.” This article explores these themes in the context of the highly publicized establishment and eventual elimination of a labour union at the Northern Lights Casino in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. --Introduction