Advancing the Conversation on Indigenous and Labour Rights
By Lindsay Campbell
Award-winning artist, activist, and scholar Dylan Miner will travel to Canada from south of the border with plans to engage the local community on a number of social justice issues this March.
Miner, the co-host of an upcoming workshop Art for Indigenous and Labour Struggles, with the ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL), is expected to use his talent as a printmaker to shine a spotlight on the intersection of challenges within the labour movement and the rights of Indigenous persons.
According to Max Haiven, event organizer and co-director of RiVAL, Miner was an obvious choice for the workshop. “Dylan is extremely unique in his ability to speak to both of these topics and does so in a way that is very visually and artistically charismatic and approachable for many different audiences,” Haiven says. “He’s done a tremendous amount of work on the history of the industrial workers of the world and radical trade unionism… He’s also done a huge amount of work about borders, imperialism, and colonialism.”
Since it was founded in 2017, RiVAL has hosted events in Thunder Bay and around the world to generate conversation on what its directors feel are pressing inequalities of present day. Haiven says over the past two years, its focus has been particularly on the topic of decolonization, but adds the upcoming workshop on March 24 will unpack an issue that’s been relevant to the area for quite some time.
“In recent history, the strong connections that could be made between the labour movement and Indigenous struggles are not being made as powerfully as they could be, especially in Thunder Bay,” he explains. “While many large unions like UNIFOR have Indigenous caucuses or anti-racist secretariats, a lot of that work is not necessarily reaching our community and we think that ultimately the struggle of working people and Indigenous people are deeply connected.”
The workshop, happening at the Finlandia Club, will begin with a talk from Miner. It will then provide opportunity for participants to speak as they create silk-screen prints and learn about each other’s struggles.
Haiven says this is a free workshop accessible to everyone. “Like all of our events, we want to cast a wide net… Radical imagination is awakened in the moments when people meet across differences. We’re reaching out to a number of different communities, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to come out to this event,” he explains. “We really want to encourage people from all walks of life to participate as long as they come with a good heart and an open mind.”
To sign up for the Art for Indigenous and Labour Struggles workshop, or find more information visit rival.lakeheadu.ca.