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Algoma Professor Helps Create Dialogue between Indigenous Peoples and Unions

(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON: September 6, 2017): A collaboration between Algoma University and Dalhousie University faculty is helping strengthen connections and dialogues between unions and Indigenous Peoples in northern communities.

On Labour Day, FemNorthNet published “Joining Northern Women and Unions for Sustainable Development”, a project of the Canadian Research Institute of the Advancement of Women, a workshop written by Algoma U faculty member, Dr. Teresa Healy, and Dr. Gail Baikie of Dalhousie University. The resource aims to help create sustainable futures for northern communities by promoting positive relationships amongst Indigenous Peoples and trade unions.

The workshop guide examines the themes of relationship, open dialogue, and harvesting, and highlights participatory and land-based methods of experiential learning. The research also offers ways to bring spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual selves into the work of helping to create sustainable futures for northern communities by asking key questions about how to attract Indigenous People to dialogue with unions, how to decolonize unions, and how to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into the union movement.

The workshop was designed to encourage more labour organizations to actively seek out input from women and Indigenous Peoples. “When we talk about economic development, we think about the changing nature of work, the impacts of resource development, and the role of community infrastructure in the creation of sustainable communities. Often, we forget the role that good relationships play… I hope to encourage conversations between labour and workers’ communities with Indigenous and First Nations communities. Some conversations are already happening, but there are opportunities for many more,” said Healy.

Teresa Healy is an Associate Professor in the Community, Economic, and Social Development program at Algoma University. She earned her PhD in Political Science from Carleton University. Her research focuses on social movements’ struggles for equity and community-based sustainability in times of economic crisis. She has worked as a Senior Researcher within the Canadian labour movement and has held academic posts in the fields of international political economy, sustainable development, and North American integration.

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