This Tuesday marks the 114th anniversary of the beginning of the 1900 Fraser River strike, a landmark date in the labour history of British Columbia’s fishing industry. The strike was notable not only for its duration (until the end of the month) or its vehemence (resulting in the imposition of martial law in Steveston), but also for the fact that it managed to unite fishermen of First Nations, Japanese and European backgrounds, as well as First Nations shore workers and local shopkeepers. Workers often struggled to find common cause across ethnic lines, and so achieving such unity was no small feat at the time.
Last year we wrote about the strike here. This year, we have taken things a step further, commemorating the 1900 strike and other efforts throughout B.C.’s fishing industry to improve worker well-being in our newest exhibit, Solidarity on Ships and Shore—Organizing the West Coast Fishing Industry, running until Spring, 2015. Learn about the history of B.C.’s fishing and shore worker unions, fishing co-operatives, and credit unions in all their various struggles to shape the fishing industry for the better (and check out a short film on the 1900 strike!).
For more on the 1900 strike, photograph archives in the public domain are also a great resource. Check out the links below: