Report documents ‘degrading’ treatment of Indigenous women at Yukon and B.C. mines – by Julien Gignac (CBC News Canada North – August 4, 2021)

She had a ritual that involved loading and reloading a shotgun in front of a group of men. The message seemed clear enough: Stay away.

“I would sleep with it right next to my bed, sometimes right in the bed next to me, and I’d have my bear spray right there, too,” said the unidentified woman who is quoted in a new report documenting the experiences of Indigenous women and women of colour at mining camps in Yukon and Northern B.C.

The report, titled “Never Until Now,” was commissioned by the non-profit Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society. It suggests that women are often assigned low-paying, menial jobs at mines because of their gender — and it’s those very roles that often compromise their personal safety.

“The study demonstrates the mining industry’s colonial ethic of exploitation by revealing the degrading ways that Indigenous and racialized women mine workers are treated, both in the workplace and in their camp living conditions,” the report reads.

“This discrimination thwarts dignified working conditions and jeopardizes women’s personal safety and longevity of work security.” The report is largely based on interviews with 22 women — roughly half of whom belong to Yukon First Nations — between October 2020 and March 2021.

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