Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

The practice of everyday colonialism: Indigenous women at work in the hop fields and tourist industry of Puget Sound

Document type Article
Author Raibmon, Paige
Journal Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas
Volume 3
Date 2006
Pages 23-56


In the late nineteenth century, thousands of Indigenous women journeyed hundreds of miles annually along the Pacific Northwest coast and converged around Puget Sound. They came to pick hops in the fields of farmers who occupied lands in western Washington. These migrants did not look like modern factory workers, yet they were laborers in a late-nineteenth-century incarnation of industrial agriculture. They came en masse to harvest a cash crop destined for sale on the global market, a crop internationally sought as a preservative and fl avoring for beer, a crop that could provide no sustenance to them or their families. Field workers were paid in cash wages, not in kind. This was no shop floor, but a labor hierarchy (both racialized and gendered) structured the conditions of their work all the same. --Introduction