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The Alberta Labour History Institute (ALHI) was founded in 1999 by a group of trade unionists, community activists, archivists, and historians who decided to take the first steps to collect, preserve, and publicize the stories of Alberta’s working people and their organizations.

The idea was to tell the history of Alberta working people in their own words. So oral history, mainly via videos, has always been the major form of research that ALHI does though we also supplement the oral history work with archival and library research. We post full transcripts on our website, along with podcasts of what we view as the best excerpts. And the videotapes are available in our office as well as at the Provincial Archives of Alberta. We’ve used our oral history materials to create films, booklets, annual calendars, and a book all of which are available directly on our website or via links from the website and we’ve provided advice to various unions re archiving and re educational materials. Most “deliverables” for the Alberta Federation of Labour centennial celebration in 2012—the book, a booklet, six videos, and various posters—were ALHI creations.

We’ve also sponsored workshops and conferences and film nights that double as educational events and provide us with interviewees. For example, in 2002, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Edmonton Hunger March, we had participants who were still alive speak at a commemorative workshop and we recorded their words.

We sponsored a conference on Alberta labour history generally in 2012 as part of the AFL centennial events. It included a combination of activists telling their stories plus academic sessions. We had a similar conference in 2014 and then in 2016, we marked the 30-year anniversary of the Gainers Strike and several other major strikes that made up the “Alberta hot summer of ‘86” with an Edmonton workshop that included the showing of a video ballad by Maria Dunn and our videographer Don Bouzek on the Gainers workers. The video ballad was also performed in Calgary and Red Deer. For 2019 we are planning workshops across Alberta on “The Centennial of the Great Labour Revolt of 1919” along with a video, a graphic novel, display panels, and a booklet. Also, we have begun work on our “Indigenous Labour History Project,” which involves a major effort to gather the stories of First Nations and Métis people, and that will also include a video and a booklet.

ALHI today remains a voluntary partnership of present and retired trade unionists, non-unionized workers, community activists, labour scholars, and labour archivists.

Our aim is to educate Albertans and Canadians about an important part of their history that would otherwise not be readily available. With the creation of this website, our resources are now available to schools, colleges, and universities in Alberta and across Canada to use for research and teaching purposes. What is contained here is not a complete history of working people in Alberta. As part of our ongoing work, this website is also a way to collect additional stories and historical artefacts.

To tell us a story or send us pictures or artefacts you think should be here on the website, or if you are interested in learning more about ALHI, starting a Chapter in your community, or making a financial contribution to support our work, please email us at
alhioffice@gmail.com.

You can also contact us at:

ALHI
Suite 603, 12323 Stony Plain Rd NW
Edmonton, AB T5N 3Y5
Ph: (780) 732-0320