Arctic and indigenous labour history – Lessons from Canada

Panel | 8 June 2021 kl 18-20

Welcome to a panel on Arctic and indigenous labour history organized by the Nordic Labour History Network!

Until today only Norway and Denmark are among the 23 countries which have ratified the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention No 169 of the International Labour Organisation. While appearing as models for labour relations worldwide, little interest has been paid to working and living conditions of indigenous people in the Nordic countries by scholars. This panel is the first in a series of online events to initiate and promote discussions about Arctic and indigenous labour history, organized by the NLHN.

Our Canadian colleagues, Sarah A Nickel and Joan Sangster, will share their experiences of writing indigenous labour history. Following their discussion we will listen to comments from historians representing Sápmi, Greenland and Iceland; what we can learn from them and what needs to be done in Nordic labour history   


Helle Stenum


Marianne Jensen, was the first female mayor of Ilulissat. She was also a minister in the government of Greenland and the chief technical advisor in promoting ILO policy on indigenous peoples.

Åsa Nordin Jonsson, is an independent scholar with a PhD in history. She is the author of Relationer i ett samiskt samhälle: en studie av skötesrensystemet i Gällivare socken under första hälften av 1900-talet, Umeå University (2002).

Sarah A Nickel is Tk’emlupsemc (Kamloops Secwepemc), French Canadian and Ukrainian. She grew up in the unceded lands of northern Secwepemcul’ecw and the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She is associate professor at the University of Alberta and the author of Assembling Unity. Indigenous politics, gender and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, UBC Press (2019).

Joan Sangster is professor emerita of Gender and Women’s Studies at Trent University and editor of the Canadian labour history journal Labour/LeTravail. She has published widely on feminist labour history and is the author of The Iconic North. Cultural Constructions of Aboriginal Life in Postwar Canada, UBC Press (2016).

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