Coal Mining: Interviews

Joyce Avramenko
Joyce Avramenko describes the roles of coal miners’ wives in their communities and the extent of domestic abuse that many of these women experienced.

Mikhail Bjorge
Dr. Mikhail Bjorge discusses the causes and outcomes of the general strikes in Alberta in 1919 in local, national, and international contexts.

Crowsnest Pass Coal Mining Community Group Interview 1
The 13 people interviewed together in Coleman reflect various relationships with mining in the Crowsnest Pass.

Crowsnest Pass Coal Mining Community Group Interview 2
The nine people interviewed together in Coleman reflect various relationships with mining and life in the Crowsnest Pass.

Drumheller Valley Coal Mining Community Group Interview (re: 1930s to 1970s)
The 4 people interviewed together in Drumheller in 2003 discuss work and living conditions in the Valley and efforts to counter exploitation of miners and their families.

Leon Dyrgas and Bill Pasemko
Leon Dyrgas and Bill Pasemko were long-time miners in Canmore-area mines. When the mines closed, they received no severance pay and Dyrgas received no pension while Pasemko received a pittance of a pension.

Bruno Gentil
Bruno Gentil spent fifty years working for the mines in Coleman as first a horse trainer and driver, then later as a blacksmith.

Tilly Herman
Tilly Herman, a miner’s daughter in East Coulee, and a miner’s wife in Drumheller, recalls the lives of miners’ children and wives, both in terms of hardships and community entertainments.

Kate Jacobson
Kate Jacobson is an internal organizer for the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) who describes her earlier oppressive working conditions in non-union jobs and her years as a social and environmental militant.

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones was a long-time registered nurse in both Toronto and Banff when she became involved in heritage work in Canmore that included museum displays of the lives of miners, miners’ wives, and miners’ families.

Mary-Beth Laviolette
Mary-Beth Laviolette is a curator, author, and former CBC journalist who research and writing have included projects involving a number of Alberta coal mining communities.

Roy Lazzarotto
Roy Lazzarotto mined in the Crowsnest Pass from 1950 onwards and fought successfully with his union to improve mine safety.

Liz and Steve Liska
Liz and Steve Liska describe the many dangers of working underground as well as the day-to-day experience of work and life raising a family in Coleman and Bellevue. 

John Mitchell
John Mitchell grew up in the coal-mining town of Luscar and became a coal miner like his father until the Coal Branch mines were all closed down.

Clara Montgomery
Clara Montgomery, who grew up on a farm in the Drumheller area, describes the coal-related work of members of farm families.

Jessie Saruk
Jessie Saruk, grand-daughter and daughter of Ukrainian-Canadian homesteaders, became a teacher and activist in the Alberta Teachers’ Association.  

Lena Shellian
Lena Shellian, born and raised in Canmore, was the daughter, grand-daughter and wife of coal mine workers, and watched her dad and her husband die of silicosis.

Jan and Jack Tarasoff
Jan and Jack Tarasoff were long-time activists in the Communist Party in Calgary and in the politico-cultural activities of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians.