Open Collections

UBC Undergraduate Research

Ethnic and social divides within the BC salmon canning industry : a study of the North Pacific Cannery Moon, Connor Apr 7, 2015

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
52966-Moon_Connor_GEOG_429_2015.pdf [ 129.32kB ]
Metadata
JSON: 52966-1.0103580.json
JSON-LD: 52966-1.0103580-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 52966-1.0103580-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 52966-1.0103580-rdf.json
Turtle: 52966-1.0103580-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 52966-1.0103580-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 52966-1.0103580-source.json
Full Text
52966-1.0103580-fulltext.txt
Citation
52966-1.0103580.ris

Full Text

	  	  	  	  	  Ethnic	  and	  Social	  Divides	  Within	  the	  BC	  Salmon	  Canning	  Industry:	  	  	  	  A	  Study	  of	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	   	  	  	  	  	  	   Connor	  Moon	  	  April	  7th,	  2015	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  Report	  prepared	  at	  the	  request	  of	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  National	  Historic	  Site,	  	  in	  partial	  fulfillment	  of	  UBC	  Geography	  429:	  Research	  in	  Historical	  Geography,	  	  for	  Dr.	  David	  Brownstein	  Moon	  2	  Abstract:	  	  British	  Columbia’s	  fishing	  industry	  rose	  to	  great	  success	  over	  the	  course	  of	  the	  twentieth	  century,	  but	  in	  spite	  of	  its	  overall	  achievement,	  the	  industry’s	  workers	  faced	  massive	  differences	  in	  access	  to	  opportunity	  and	  economic	  provisions.	  This	  essay	  examines	  the	  employment	  characteristics	  of	  BC’s	  fishing	  industry,	  by	  conducting	  a	  case	  study	  of	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery,	  to	  reveal	  how	  ethnic	  and	  social	  divides	  at	  once	  separated	  workers	  while	  unifying	  and	  strengthening	  the	  industry	  as	  a	  whole.	  An	  examination	  of	  the	  differing	  Native,	  Chinese,	  Japanese,	  White	  and	  Female	  groups	  will	  serve	  to	  demonstrate	  how	  each	  group	  was	  assigned	  a	  role	  within	  the	  cannery	  as	  the	  product	  of	  individual	  historical	  and	  social	  experiences.	  Each	  group	  was	  subject	  to	  differing	  adversities	  that	  ultimately	  contributed	  to	  their	  overall	  success	  or	  lack	  thereof,	  but	  ultimately,	  the	  sum	  of	  these	  differences	  helped	  create	  the	  fishing	  industry	  as	  it	  came	  to	  be.	  The	  specific	  combination	  of	  roles	  and	  duties	  assigned	  to	  each	  group	  is	  ultimately	  deemed	  to	  be	  an	  integral	  player	  in	  creating	  the	  behemoth	  that	  the	  BC	  fishing	  industry	  came	  to	  be.	  	  	   	  Moon	  3	  Introduction	  	  Throughout	  much	  of	  its	  history,	  Canada	  has	  relied	  on	  a	  variety	  of	  staple	  resources	  to	  connect	  itself	  to	  the	  rest	  of	  the	  world,	  and	  in	  British	  Columbia,	  fishing	  has	  emerged	  as	  a	  major	  player	  in	  the	  provincial	  resource	  economy.	  	  It	  developed	  in	  the	  late	  18th	  century	  as	  a	  byproduct	  of	  interest	  in	  some	  of	  the	  province’s	  other	  natural	  resources.	  	  Men	  flooded	  into	  BC	  hoping	  to	  establish	  their	  fortunes	  in	  the	  fur,	  gold	  and	  timber	  trades,	  and	  they	  took	  notice	  of	  the	  area’s	  abundant	  fish	  supply.	  	  Realizing	  the	  economic	  potential	  that	  a	  fishing	  industry	  could	  provide,	  many	  began	  setting	  up	  a	  series	  of	  canneries	  along	  the	  Pacific	  Coast.	  	  Exploding	  in	  size	  and	  value,	  British	  Columbian	  fisheries	  eventually	  emerged	  as	  one	  of	  the	  province’s	  most	  profitable	  industries,	  and	  became	  a	  place	  where	  people	  from	  all	  walks	  of	  life	  could	  find	  a	  stable	  job.	  	  It	  is	  here	  that	  this	  essay	  will	  take	  its	  base,	  examining	  the	  employment	  characteristics	  of	  BC’s	  fishing	  industry,	  by	  conducting	  a	  case	  study	  of	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery,	  a	  once	  booming	  cannery	  located	  in	  northern	  BC.	  	  While	  many	  people	  found	  employment	  within	  the	  BC	  fishing	  industry,	  it	  is	  apparent	  when	  looking	  at	  individual’s	  positions	  within	  the	  cannery,	  that	  many	  of	  the	  labor	  divides	  coincide	  with	  ethnic	  and	  social	  differences.	  	  This	  essay	  will	  examine	  how	  general	  job	  designations	  across	  the	  industry	  were	  experienced	  and	  divided	  within	  an	  individual	  cannery,	  in	  this	  case,	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery.	  	  Ultimately,	  this	  research	  will	  try	  to	  determine	  the	  factors	  that	  reinforced	  the	  divide	  and	  which	  allowed	  it	  to	  become	  so	  prevalent	  over	  the	  course	  of	  the	  cannery’s	  lifetime.	  	  	  	  	  History	  of	  the	  BC	  Fishing	  Industry	  	  	   In	  the	  hundreds	  of	  years	  before	  and	  after	  European	  contact,	  West	  Coast	  natives	  were	  avid	  fishermen,	  as	  the	  region’s	  rugged	  landscape	  contained	  few	  large	  game	  animals,	  Moon	  4	  and	  of	  the	  land	  based	  animals	  that	  did	  exist,	  most	  were	  difficult	  to	  capture.1	  	  As	  a	  result,	  the	  surrounding	  rivers	  and	  oceans	  became	  the	  area’s	  most	  prized	  possession,	  providing	  every	  person	  with	  thousands	  of	  pounds	  of	  fish	  with	  which	  they	  could	  preserve,	  consume	  and	  trade.2	  	  	  The	  Europeans	  developed	  an	  affinity	  for	  local	  salmon,	  and	  a	  provisional	  market	  developed3,	  beginning	  British	  Columbia’s	  earliest	  commercial	  fishing	  industry.	  	  	  In	  the	  1860’s,	  BC	  began	  opening	  its	  first	  salmon	  canneries,	  participating	  in	  a	  commercial	  process	  less	  than	  50	  years	  old,	  which	  required	  large	  amounts	  of	  labor	  and	  equity.	  	  Such	  circumstances	  resulted	  in	  the	  early	  industry	  being	  led	  by	  the	  white	  men	  who	  were	  best	  able	  to	  afford	  participation.	  	  In	  the	  earliest	  years,	  most	  of	  the	  lower	  level	  workers	  were	  native	  as	  they	  had	  a	  familiarity	  with	  the	  processes	  required	  to	  fish	  and	  pack,	  but	  following	  construction	  of	  the	  Canadian	  Pacific	  Railway,	  large	  groups	  of	  Chinese	  contractors	  began	  to	  appear	  in	  the	  area,	  looking	  for	  work.4	  	  Taking	  advantage	  of	  the	  relatively	  numerous	  and	  affordable	  Chinese	  workers,	  canneries	  hired	  these	  men	  on	  set	  term	  contracts	  to	  work	  within	  the	  canneries	  assisting	  in	  fish	  processing.	  	  As	  the	  industry	  grew	  and	  became	  more	  accessible,	  Japanese	  immigrants	  and	  lower	  class	  whites	  began	  to	  appear	  in	  greater	  numbers,	  typically	  joining	  Natives	  on	  the	  water	  as	  fishermen.	  From	  this	  point	  forward,	  I	  will	  detail	  the	  relationship	  that	  each	  of	  these	  groups	  had	  with	  the	  fishing	  industry,	  beginning	  with	  a	  short	  excerpt	  of	  notes	  from	  secondary	  sources	  followed	  by	  the	  results	  of	  my	  own	  primary	  research.	  	  Ultimately,	  these	  groupings	  will	  provide	  a	  clearer	  picture	  of	  life	  within	  the	  cannery.	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  1	  H.W.	  McKervill,.	  	  The	  Salmon	  People:	  Twenty-­‐Fifth	  Anniversary	  Edition,	  Vancouver,	  1992,	  9.	  2Ibid,	  12.	  3	  D.	  Newell,	  The	  Development	  of	  the	  Pacific	  Canning	  Industry:	  A	  Grown	  Man’s	  Game,	  Montreal	  and	  Kingston,	  1989,	  3.	  4	  C.	  Lyons,	  Salmon,	  Our	  Heritage:	  The	  Story	  of	  a	  Province	  and	  an	  Industry,	  Vancouver,	  1969,	  181.	  	  	  Moon	  5	  The	  Original	  Fishermen	  –	  Native	  Experience	  in	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  	   British	  Columbia’s	  native	  populations	  were	  essential	  in	  establishing	  the	  base	  from	  which	  the	  mighty	  fishing	  industry	  rose,	  for	  they	  brought	  the	  experience	  and	  knowledge	  that	  allowed	  salmon	  catches	  to	  demonstrate	  their	  appeal.	  	  The	  native	  groups	  had	  resided	  on	  the	  Pacific	  coast	  for	  thousands	  of	  years,	  and	  their	  lifestyle	  depended	  on	  the	  resources	  that	  the	  ocean	  provided.	  	  In	  the	  years	  prior	  to	  the	  canning	  boom,	  it	  is	  estimated	  that	  Native	  families	  “used	  approximately	  1000	  sockeye	  salmon	  every	  winter”,5	  for	  both	  food	  and	  economic	  purposes.	  	  While	  salmon	  provided	  obvious	  benefits	  through	  its	  nutritional	  value,	  it	  was	  also	  a	  great	  trading	  supplement,	  an	  effective	  resource	  in	  bartering	  for	  goods	  with	  other	  Native	  and	  European	  groups.6	  	  	  This	  familiarity	  proved	  extremely	  valuable	  when	  canneries	  first	  began,	  as	  natives	  were	  almost	  exclusively	  employed	  as	  fishermen;	  in	  fact,	  of	  the	  3000	  plus	  fishermen	  in	  the	  province	  in	  1883,	  “almost	  all	  of	  them	  [were]	  Indians”.7	  	   Although	  Native	  fishermen	  were	  an	  important	  tool	  when	  forming	  fishing’s	  industrial	  base,	  it	  appears	  as	  though	  the	  cannery’s	  industrial	  culture	  largely	  glazed	  over	  their	  value.	  	  Within	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery,	  payroll	  sheets	  were	  often	  sorted	  according	  to	  ethnicity;	  and	  this	  process	  did	  not	  forget	  native	  groups,	  as	  one	  of	  the	  earliest	  available	  payrolls	  listed	  payments	  to	  Native	  workers	  through	  the	  “Indian	  Boss”.8	  	  The	  fact	  that	  Natives	  were	  paid	  through	  a	  single	  person	  is	  negligible	  of	  their	  overall	  participation	  in	  both	  the	  fishing	  and	  packing	  aspects	  of	  the	  cannery’s	  operations.	  	  A	  1923	  worker	  count	  indicates	  that	  56	  of	  128	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  5McKervill,	  The	  Salmon	  People,	  11.	  6	  Ibid,	  17.	  7	  Ibid,148.	  8	  UBC	  Rare	  Books	  and	  Special	  Collections	  (hereafter	  UBC	  RBSC),	  Anglo-­‐British	  Columbia	  Packing	  Company	  (hereafter	  ABC	  PC)	  fonds,	  Box	  62,	  Anglo	  British	  Columbia	  Packing	  Company	  Payroll,	  May	  1922.	  	  Moon	  6	  canning	  line	  workers,	  and	  42	  of	  110	  fishermen	  or	  boat	  pullers,	  were	  labeled	  as	  “Indians”.9	  	  While	  native	  persons	  made	  up	  forty	  per	  cent	  of	  the	  North	  Pacific’s	  workforce,	  most	  of	  the	  company’s	  records	  ignored	  this.	  	  	  Aside	  from	  the	  few	  worker	  counts	  provided	  in	  the	  ABC	  Packing	  Company	  fonds,	  and	  payroll	  sheets	  that	  indicate	  an	  “Indian	  Boss”,	  native	  records	  are	  either	  omitted,	  or	  grouped	  together	  with	  white	  workers.	  	  In	  spite	  of	  all	  the	  contributions	  that	  would	  indicate	  native	  importance,	  they	  have	  been	  largely	  tucked	  away	  as	  a	  forgotten	  piece	  of	  fishing’s	  industrial	  base.	  The	  Contract	  Labour	  Force	  –	  Chinese	  Workers	  Within	  the	  Cannery	  	   Chinese	  workers,	  in	  a	  manner	  very	  similar	  to	  native	  groups,	  were	  often	  treated	  as	  a	  group	  rather	  than	  as	  individuals,	  although	  much	  of	  this	  can	  be	  attributed	  to	  the	  contract	  system	  that	  was	  used	  to	  employ	  them	  to	  the	  cannery.	  	  Utilizing	  a	  contract	  labour	  system	  initially	  developed	  during	  the	  construction	  of	  the	  Canadian	  Pacific	  Railway,	  canneries	  would	  enlist	  workers	  for	  their	  operation	  from	  overseas	  at	  a	  very	  low	  cost,	  through	  the	  use	  of	  a	  Chinese	  agent.	  	  This	  broker	  would	  be	  paid	  a	  lump	  sum	  covering	  the	  entirety	  of	  the	  workers	  wages,	  plus	  a	  fee	  for	  himself,	  and	  in	  return,	  he	  provided	  the	  cannery	  with	  a	  steady	  workforce	  that	  would	  meet	  their	  employer’s	  high	  demands	  or	  risk	  losing	  wages.	  	  	  In	  a	  1918	  contract	  between	  Charlie	  Chue	  and	  the	  ABC	  Packing	  Company,	  an	  agreement	  is	  made	  whereby	  Chue	  agrees	  to	  supply	  the	  North	  Pacific	  with	  the	  labor	  force	  that	  will	  pack	  and	  store	  fish,	  as	  well	  as	  make	  the	  cans	  that	  they	  will	  be	  stored	  in.10	  	  Chue	  agreed	  to	  provide	  enough	  employees	  to	  fulfill	  the	  company’s	  demand	  of	  90,000	  packed	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  9	  Ibid.	  Box	  64,	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  Worker	  Count	  Prepared	  for	  the	  Department	  of	  Marine	  and	  Fisheries,	  1923.	  For	  full	  worker	  count,	  please	  see	  Appendix.	  	  	  10	  Ibid.	  Box	  61,	  File	  1,	  Contract	  between	  Charlie	  Chue	  and	  the	  ABC	  Packing	  Company,	  1918.	  Moon	  7	  cans	  per	  day	  at	  a	  rate	  of	  5	  cents	  per	  case	  of	  48	  cans.	  	  If	  the	  Chinese	  workers	  failed	  to	  fulfill	  these	  goals,	  Chue	  would	  have	  to	  pay	  80	  dollars	  a	  day	  until	  the	  shipment	  was	  completed.	  	  	  The	  terms	  of	  this	  contract,	  and	  the	  numerous	  others	  like	  it,	  encouraged	  “China	  Bosses”	  to	  demand	  the	  most	  from	  their	  workers.	  	  Chue	  agreed	  to	  pay	  his	  men	  30	  cents	  an	  hour	  for	  the	  duration	  of	  their	  work,	  but	  if	  they	  failed	  to	  meet	  the	  demand,	  he	  could	  take	  away	  their	  reimbursement	  through	  other	  means.	  	  A	  1902	  commission	  had	  established	  the	  head	  tax	  on	  Chinese	  workers	  to	  be	  500	  dollars	  per	  person,	  a	  hefty	  fee	  for	  workers	  making	  a	  few	  dollars	  a	  day,	  and	  as	  a	  result,	  the	  Chinese	  contractors	  often	  paid	  the	  fee	  in	  order	  to	  get	  workers	  to	  migrate	  to	  Canada.	  	  Once	  contracted	  out	  to	  a	  cannery,	  this	  tax,	  as	  well	  any	  other	  costs	  against	  the	  contractor	  would	  be	  deducted	  from	  a	  worker’s	  wage11.	  	  	  Furthermore,	  these	  workers	  were	  often	  competing	  against	  each	  other	  for	  their	  own	  job	  security;	  Chinese	  laborers	  were	  entirely	  employed	  on	  the	  canning	  line12,	  and	  as	  a	  result,	  their	  jobs	  were	  at	  risk	  from	  any	  major	  technological	  change.	  	  The	  development	  of	  the	  “Iron	  Chink”,	  a	  machine	  that	  saved	  time	  and	  resources	  in	  cutting	  and	  cleaning	  fish,	  was	  responsible	  for	  the	  loss	  of	  six	  canning	  line	  workers	  per	  machine.13	  	  Through	  these	  mechanisms,	  contracted	  labour	  became	  a	  form	  of	  indentured	  servitude,	  where	  Chinese	  workers	  were	  no	  longer	  working	  for	  their	  own	  benefit,	  but	  for	  that	  of	  their	  China	  Boss	  and	  the	  cannery	  that	  employed	  them.	  	  The	  contract	  system	  turned	  Chinese	  workers	  into	  a	  series	  of	  cogs	  in	  a	  machine,	  meant	  to	  turn	  a	  profit,	  at	  the	  expense	  of	  any	  true	  comfort.	  	  Of	  the	  246	  workers	  listed	  in	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  worker	  count,	  47	  of	  them	  are	  Chinese,	  and	  all	  of	  them	  are	  male,	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  11	  McKervill,	  The	  Salmon	  People,	  104.	  12	  UBC	  RBSC	  ABC	  PC	  fonds,	  Box	  64,	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  Worker	  Count	  Prepared	  for	  the	  Department	  of	  Marine	  and	  Fisheries,	  1923.	  13	  McKervill,	  The	  Salmon	  People,	  73.	  Moon	  8	  unlike	  any	  other	  ethnicity	  participating	  within	  the	  cannery.14	  	  These	  were	  men	  brought	  over	  for	  the	  sole	  purpose	  of	  work,	  and	  any	  domestic	  comforts	  were	  to	  be	  left	  at	  home.	  	  Women	  were	  expensive	  to	  bring	  over,	  and	  offered	  little	  value	  to	  contractors,	  so	  they	  remained	  in	  China,	  resulting	  in	  a	  system	  where	  workers	  in	  Canada	  failed	  to	  integrate	  with	  the	  society	  evolving	  around	  them.	  	  Brought	  over	  by	  the	  boatload,	  Chinese	  men	  worked	  together	  in	  the	  cannery	  all	  day,	  and	  spent	  the	  rest	  of	  their	  free	  time	  together	  within	  the	  “China	  House”.	  	  As	  their	  room	  and	  board	  was	  a	  typically	  part	  of	  their	  contract,	  they	  never	  really	  needed	  to	  venture	  outside	  of	  their	  own	  sphere.	  	  As	  a	  result	  of	  this	  group’s	  isolation,	  they	  appear	  to	  be	  little	  more	  than	  “units	  of	  energy”	  meant	  to	  process	  fish	  and	  generate	  income	  for	  their	  superiors.15	  	  	  	  The	  Outsiders	  –	  Relationship	  between	  the	  Cannery	  and	  its	  Japanese	  Workers	  	  	   While	  the	  previous	  two	  groups	  have	  experienced	  some	  form	  of	  isolation	  from	  the	  rest	  of	  the	  canning	  industry,	  with	  native	  contributions	  to	  the	  industry	  largely	  overlooked,	  and	  Chinese	  workers	  looked	  at	  as	  simply	  a	  part	  of	  the	  industrial	  machine,	  neither	  group	  faced	  outright	  persecution	  to	  the	  same	  degree	  as	  the	  Japanese.	  	  These	  workers	  emerged	  following	  the	  Gold	  Rush,	  and	  quickly	  found	  themselves	  a	  home	  within	  British	  Columbia’s	  fishing	  industry,	  for	  Japan,	  as	  an	  island	  nation,	  had	  developed	  similar	  practices	  in	  catching	  fish	  over	  the	  years.	  	  Japanese	  people	  became	  abundant	  along	  the	  BC	  coast,	  with	  estimations	  of	  nearly	  4000	  participating	  in	  the	  industry	  in	  some	  capacity	  by	  the	  year	  1900.16	  	  Over	  the	  course	  of	  their	  interaction	  with	  the	  industry,	  Japanese	  workers	  developed	  a	  successful	  reputation	  on	  the	  waters,	  proving	  to	  be	  very	  effective	  fishermen.	  	  The	  year	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  14	  UBC	  RBSC	  ABC	  PC	  fonds,	  Box	  64,	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  Worker	  Count	  Prepared	  for	  the	  Department	  of	  Marine	  and	  Fisheries,	  1923.	  15	  McKervill,	  The	  Salmon	  People,	  43.	  16	  Ibid.	  63.	  Moon	  9	  over	  year	  averages	  from	  1918-­‐1920	  indicate	  that	  Japanese	  fishermen	  completely	  out	  caught	  their	  white	  and	  Native	  counterparts,	  in	  spite	  of	  having	  fewer	  boats	  than	  natives	  and	  similar	  amounts	  to	  whites.17	  	  	  Furthermore,	  of	  the	  22	  Japanese	  fishermen	  employed	  by	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  in	  1923,	  10	  owned	  their	  owned	  fishing	  nets,	  compared	  to	  7	  whites	  and	  1	  native	  fisherman	  who	  owned	  their	  own.18	  	  Japanese	  success	  on	  the	  water	  carried	  over	  to	  their	  social	  sphere	  as	  well,	  where	  they	  became	  known	  as	  “industrious,	  clean,	  law	  abiding	  citizens”,19	  who	  engaged	  with	  the	  community	  around	  them.	  	  Unlike	  Chinese	  workers,	  Japanese	  groups	  were	  largely	  in	  BC	  on	  their	  own	  accord,	  and	  as	  such,	  they	  were	  able	  to	  bring	  family	  over,	  or	  establish	  new	  families	  via	  “picture	  brides”,	  and	  became	  quickly	  integrated	  into	  society.	  However,	  for	  all	  of	  the	  success	  that	  Japanese	  fishermen	  enjoyed,	  they	  frequently	  faced	  discrimination	  from	  an	  envious	  white	  population.	  	  The	  government	  implemented	  numerous	  measures	  to	  slow,	  or	  even	  outright	  stop	  the	  Japanese	  from	  fishing	  in	  the	  region.	  	  Throughout	  the	  early	  part	  of	  the	  20th	  century,	  the	  Canadian	  and	  US	  governments	  cooperated	  to	  prevent	  Asian	  migrants	  from	  crossing	  the	  border	  in	  between	  countries,	  effectively	  ensuring	  that	  any	  Japanese	  seeking	  to	  expand	  into	  Canadian	  waters	  from	  outside	  of	  the	  country	  would	  not	  be	  allowed.20	  	  Furthermore,	  the	  provincial	  government	  passed	  a	  resolution	  via	  the	  Duff	  Commission	  of	  1922	  essentially	  stating	  that	  the	  Japanese	  population	  should	  be	  removed	  from	  the	  industry	  “in	  the	  shortest	  possible	  time	  without	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  17	  UBC	  RBSC	  ABC	  PC	  fonds,	  Box	  64,	  Catch	  Totals	  By	  Ethnicity,	  1924-­‐1930.	  18	  Ibid.	  	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  Worker	  Count	  Prepared	  for	  the	  Department	  of	  Marine	  and	  Fisheries,	  1923.	  19	  McKervill,	  The	  Salmon	  People,	  63.	  20	  Chang,	  Kornel.	  "Enforcing	  Transnational	  White	  Solidarity:	  Asian	  Migration	  and	  the	  Formation	  of	  the	  U.S.-­‐Canadian	  Boundary."	  American	  Quarterly	  60.3	  (2008):	  671-­‐96.	  Web.	  Moon	  10	  [causing	  disruption]”.21	  	  In	  order	  to	  put	  this	  resolution	  into	  effect,	  the	  government	  began	  removing	  fishing	  and	  boat	  pulling	  licenses	  of	  Japanese	  workers,	  and	  imposing	  quotas	  on	  the	  total	  number	  that	  would	  be	  allowed	  in	  the	  industry,	  with	  only	  250	  Japanese	  allowed	  to	  remain	  on	  the	  Skeena	  River.22	  	  The	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  was	  very	  aware	  of	  these	  impositions,	  and	  prepared	  itself	  for	  the	  coming	  changes;	  in	  a	  letter	  from	  H	  Bell	  Irving	  to	  JE	  Lord,	  Irving	  encourages	  the	  NPC	  to	  have	  its	  best	  Japanese	  fishermen	  submit	  fishing	  applications	  early,	  so	  that	  the	  most	  successful	  providers	  remain	  on	  the	  water.23	  	  One	  of	  the	  largest	  blows	  to	  Japanese	  success	  came	  with	  the	  lifting	  of	  the	  ban	  on	  gas-­‐powered	  boats	  for	  white	  and	  Indian	  fishermen	  in	  1924,	  essentially	  providing	  these	  fishermen	  with	  a	  much	  wider	  accessibility	  to	  fish	  than	  the	  Japanese	  could	  hope	  for	  in	  a	  row	  boat.	  	  All	  of	  these	  resolutions	  seem	  to	  work	  together	  to	  explain	  how	  whites	  quickly	  surpassed	  the	  Japanese	  catch	  amounts	  during	  the	  1930’s.	  	  In	  a	  list	  of	  catches	  by	  ethnicity	  during	  the	  week	  of	  July	  15,	  1932,	  9	  Japanese	  boats	  caught	  an	  average	  of	  1864	  kilograms	  of	  spring	  salmon	  each,	  while	  the	  4	  white	  boats	  were	  able	  to	  catch	  2686	  kilograms	  each,	  a	  drastic	  change	  compared	  to	  the	  typical	  Japanese	  dominance	  of	  the	  early	  1920’s.24	  	  	  	  	  The	  discrimination	  against	  Japanese	  fishermen	  came	  to	  its	  ultimate	  conclusion	  with	  the	  descent	  into	  World	  War	  II,	  where	  the	  province’s	  “sixteen	  hundred	  Japanese-­‐Canadian	  fishermen	  were	  […]	  legally	  robbed	  of	  their	  boats	  and	  property,	  their	  homes	  and	  their	  hopes”	  prior	  to	  being	  sent	  to	  internment	  camps	  in	  the	  interior.25	  	  Although	  this	  persecution	  was	  unlike	  any	  discriminatory	  practice	  before	  it,	  it	  should	  not	  come	  as	  a	  shock	  considering	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  21	  Newell,	  The	  Development	  of	  the	  Pacific	  Canning	  Industry,	  162.	  	  22	  McKervill,	  The	  Salmon	  People,	  154.	  23	  UBC	  RBSC	  ABC	  PC	  fonds,	  Box	  62,	  Letter	  from	  H	  Bell	  Irving	  to	  JE	  Lord	  Addressing	  the	  Reduction	  of	  Japanese	  Fishing	  Licences.	  August	  21,	  1922.	  	  24	  Ibid.	  List	  of	  Boats	  and	  Catches	  by	  Ethnicity,	  ending	  week	  of	  July	  15,	  1932.	  	  	  25	  McKervill,	  The	  Salmon	  People,	  155.	  Moon	  11	  the	  overall	  measures	  that	  the	  provincial	  government	  had	  taken	  to	  remove	  Japanese	  success	  from	  the	  fishing	  industry.	  The	  Overlooked	  –	  Female	  Cannery	  Workers’	  Contributions	  	   While	  much	  of	  this	  essay	  has	  covered	  the	  role	  of	  men	  in	  the	  BC	  fishing	  industry,	  women	  played	  an	  important	  role	  as	  well.	  	  The	  1923	  employee	  count	  indicates	  that	  similar	  numbers	  of	  both	  men	  and	  women	  were	  employed	  on	  the	  canning	  line	  at	  the	  time,	  but	  women	  were	  absent	  from	  work	  on	  the	  waters.26	  	  Furthermore,	  this	  count	  indicates	  that	  the	  majority	  of	  women	  employed	  in	  this	  sector	  of	  the	  cannery	  were	  of	  native	  heritage.	  	  Of	  the	  60	  women	  working	  in	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery,	  48	  were	  native,	  followed	  by	  9	  Japanese	  and	  3	  whites.	  	  A	  1949	  Net	  Worker’s	  supplement	  list	  provided	  a	  record	  of	  jobs	  held	  within	  the	  cannery,	  and	  outlined	  their	  wages	  by	  gender.27	  	  An	  examination	  of	  this	  list	  reveals	  that	  women	  tend	  to	  work	  different	  jobs	  from	  men,	  typically	  those	  considered	  to	  be	  less	  “difficult”,	  and	  the	  wages	  that	  they	  receive	  reflect	  this	  perception.	  	  Even	  when	  men	  and	  women	  are	  working	  the	  same	  job,	  and	  a	  woman	  is	  in	  a	  senior	  role,	  male	  wages’	  remain	  higher.	  	  Women	  faced	  with	  a	  much	  smaller	  selection	  of	  jobs,	  and	  the	  ones	  that	  they	  were	  able	  to	  enter	  come	  at	  a	  lower	  pay	  rate.	  	  	  	  As	  a	  result	  of	  women’s	  relative	  seclusion	  within	  a	  small	  section	  of	  the	  industry,	  as	  well	  as	  the	  fact	  that	  the	  majority	  of	  these	  workers	  were	  non-­‐white,	  many	  of	  their	  contributions	  were	  overlooked	  and	  not	  taken	  note	  of	  in	  historical	  records.	  	  Women	  definitely	  played	  a	  role	  in	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery,	  but	  their	  male	  counterparts	  overshadowed	  almost	  all	  of	  their	  contributions.	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  26	  UBC	  RBSC	  ABC	  PC	  fonds,	  Box	  64,	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  Worker	  Count	  Prepared	  for	  the	  Department	  of	  Marine	  and	  Fisheries,	  1923.	  27	  Ibid.	  Box	  63,	  Net	  Workers	  Supplement,	  1949.	  Moon	  12	  The	  Leaders	  –	  White	  Involvement	  in	  the	  BC	  Fishing	  Industry	  	   Up	  to	  this	  point	  in	  the	  essay,	  numerous	  ethnic	  and	  social	  groups	  have	  been	  outlined	  that	  have	  faced	  some	  form	  of	  adversity	  or	  another	  during	  their	  interaction	  with	  the	  BC	  canning	  industry.	  	  However,	  a	  final	  group	  needs	  to	  be	  discussed,	  one	  that	  has	  faced	  no	  noticeable	  challenges;	  the	  white	  man.	  	  From	  the	  industry’s	  earliest	  years,	  these	  men	  were	  thrust	  into	  a	  position	  of	  power	  that	  they	  seemed	  to	  maintain	  over	  the	  course	  of	  the	  cannery’s	  lifespan.	  	  When	  canneries	  began	  opening	  in	  the	  late	  1800’s,	  much	  of	  the	  capital	  required	  to	  start	  up	  such	  an	  arduous	  endeavor	  had	  to	  come	  from	  overseas,	  through	  brokerage	  houses	  that	  lent	  to	  only	  the	  most	  shrewd	  and	  savvy	  businessmen.	  	  The	  need	  for	  these	  connections,	  as	  well	  as	  the	  presence	  of	  similar	  industries	  back	  home,	  provided	  white	  men	  the	  advantageous	  leadership	  and	  organizational	  roles.	  	  White	  men	  for	  the	  most	  part	  lucked	  into	  their	  position,	  but	  as	  a	  result	  of	  their	  lack	  of	  persecution,	  they	  were	  able	  to	  keep	  it	  to	  themselves.	  	  	  	   The	  most	  striking	  indication	  of	  white	  control	  is	  the	  shown	  in	  the	  North	  Pacific’s	  Payroll	  sheets,	  which	  demonstrate	  how	  the	  majority	  of	  monthly	  salaries	  were	  paid	  to	  these	  men	  in	  numbers	  reaching	  a	  1000	  to	  1200	  dollars	  a	  month,	  a	  fortune	  compared	  to	  the	  cannery’s	  other	  workers	  making	  between	  65	  and	  100	  dollars	  a	  month,	  or	  Chinese	  contract	  laborers	  earning	  30	  cents	  an	  hour.28	  	  	  This	  isn’t	  to	  say	  that	  all	  white	  men	  were	  employed	  in	  a	  managerial	  position,	  as	  employee	  counts	  indicate	  over	  20	  men	  were	  working	  out	  on	  the	  water,29	  but	  many	  of	  these	  men	  were	  provided	  with	  a	  clear	  path	  to	  success	  that	  prevented	  other	  groups’	  workers	  from	  advancing.	  	  For	  those	  not	  wealthy	  enough	  to	  have	  started	  the	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  28	  Ibid.	  Box	  62,	  Anglo	  British	  Columbia	  Packing	  Company	  Payroll	  for	  May	  1922.	  29	  Ibid.	  Box	  64,	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  Worker	  Count	  Prepared	  for	  the	  Department	  of	  Marine	  and	  Fisheries,	  1923.	  	  Moon	  13	  cannery	  operation,	  managerial	  positions	  were	  achievable,	  but	  they	  required	  both	  a	  familiarity	  with	  the	  overall	  fishing	  or	  canning	  operation,	  as	  well	  as	  the	  ability	  to	  manage	  men,	  a	  situation	  that	  all	  other	  groups	  were	  denied	  from	  the	  beginning,	  as	  they	  were	  subject	  to	  another	  group’s	  rule.	  	  As	  a	  result	  of	  this	  pairing	  of	  luck	  and	  lack	  of	  discrimination,	  white	  men	  in	  the	  fishing	  industry	  were	  the	  only	  ones	  afforded	  the	  ability	  to	  truly	  advance	  their	  position	  within	  the	  cannery.	  	  	  Conclusion	  	   As	  this	  report	  has	  come	  to	  show,	  life	  within	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery,	  and	  the	  BC	  fishing	  industry	  as	  a	  whole,	  was	  a	  very	  segregated	  community.	  Ethnic	  and	  social	  divides	  dominated	  the	  industrial	  structure,	  and	  often	  dictated	  both	  the	  field	  in	  which	  one	  would	  work	  and	  the	  opportunity	  for	  success	  that	  an	  individual	  would	  be	  afforded.	  While	  many	  may	  point	  to	  racist	  policies	  or	  specific	  structuring	  as	  the	  reason	  for	  one	  group’s	  success	  compared	  to	  another,	  it	  is	  as	  much	  a	  reason	  for	  one’s	  accomplishment	  as	  historical	  familiarity	  or	  sheer	  blind	  luck.	  British	  Columbia’s	  canning	  industry	  became	  a	  successful	  operation	  as	  a	  result	  of	  this	  specific	  combination	  of	  roles	  that	  each	  group	  was	  best	  able	  to	  provide,	  and	  there	  has	  been	  little	  to	  suggest	  that	  a	  transformation	  in	  group	  structure	  to	  provide	  a	  more	  even	  layout	  would	  benefit	  the	  industry	  as	  a	  whole	  more	  than	  it	  would	  harm	  it.	  	   It	  is	  from	  this	  point	  that	  further	  study	  can	  be	  conducted.	  Now	  that	  the	  industrial	  structure	  has	  largely	  been	  revealed,	  comparative	  studies	  could	  examine	  how	  BC’s	  fishing	  industry	  compares	  to	  other	  fisheries	  in	  different	  areas.	  Success	  has	  been	  seen	  across	  the	  world,	  but	  how	  does	  the	  rigid	  structure	  of	  British	  Columbia	  fare	  when	  compared	  to	  other	  areas?	  Is	  success	  here	  truly	  a	  product	  of	  rigidity?	  Or	  would	  it	  have	  been	  improved	  by	  more	  Moon	  14	  fluid	  structural	  outlines?	  This	  is	  one	  of	  many	  questions	  that	  can	  provide	  insight	  into	  our	  past	  and	  which	  can	  guide	  future	  industrial	  development.	  	  Furthermore,	  this	  paper’s	  study	  of	  fisheries	  can	  be	  compared	  against	  industrial	  structures	  of	  the	  province’s	  other	  major	  resources	  like	  forestry	  or	  mining.	  As	  a	  resource	  based	  economy,	  British	  Columbia	  has	  been	  home	  to	  numerous	  industries	  that	  all	  developed	  in	  to	  major	  players	  in	  Canadian	  industry,	  but	  the	  ways	  in	  which	  each	  came	  about	  and	  formed	  varies	  immensely.	  Could	  a	  study	  of	  other	  provincial	  resources	  provide	  insight	  into	  fisheries’	  successes	  and	  flaws?	  	  Nevertheless,	  the	  BC	  fishing	  industry	  contained	  a	  rigidly	  defined	  social	  system	  that	  in	  many	  ways	  dictated	  its	  evolution.	  The	  system	  was	  by	  no	  means	  fair,	  but	  it	  provided	  its	  workers	  with	  the	  strict	  guidance	  necessary	  for	  the	  industry	  to	  flourish.	  Because	  the	  industrial	  structure	  of	  BC’s	  fishing	  industry	  is	  so	  intertwined	  with	  ethnic	  and	  social	  barriers,	  further	  study	  of	  either	  topic	  should	  continue	  to	  integrate	  the	  other	  into	  its	  research.	  	  	   	  Moon	  15	  Works	  Cited	  K.	  Chang.	  Enforcing	  transnational	  white	  solidarity:	  Asian	  migration	  and	  the	  formation	  of	  	  the	  U.S.-­‐Canadian	  boundary.	  American	  Quarterly	  60.3	  (2008)	  671-­‐96.	  	  C.	  Lyons.	  Salmon,	  Our	  Heritage:	  The	  Story	  of	  a	  Province	  and	  an	  Industry,	  Vancouver,	  1969.	  H.W.	  McKervill.	  The	  Salmon	  People:	  Twenty-­‐Fifth	  Anniversary	  Edition,	  Vancouver,	  1992.	  	  D.	  Newell.	  The	  Development	  of	  the	  Pacific	  Canning	  Industry:	  A	  Grown	  Man’s	  Game,	  Montreal	  	  and	  Kingston,	  1989.	  	   Primary	  Sources	  UBC	  Rare	  Books	  and	  Special	  Collections	  Anglo-­‐British	  Columbia	  Packing	  Company	  fonds,	  	  Box	  61,	  File	  1,	  Contract	  between	  Charlie	  Chue	  and	  the	  ABC	  Packing	  Company,	  1918.	  	  UBC	  Rare	  Books	  and	  Special	  Collections	  Anglo-­‐British	  Columbia	  Packing	  Company	  fonds,	  	  Box	  62,	  Anglo	  British	  Columbia	  Packing	  Company	  Payroll,	  May	  1922.	  	  UBC	  Rare	  Books	  and	  Special	  Collections	  Anglo-­‐British	  Columbia	  Packing	  Company	  fonds,	  	  Box	  62,	  Letter	  from	  H	  Bell	  Irving	  to	  JE	  Lord	  Addressing	  the	  Reduction	  of	  Japanese	  Fishing	  Licenses.	  August	  21,	  1922.	  	  UBC	  Rare	  Books	  and	  Special	  Collections	  Anglo-­‐British	  Columbia	  Packing	  Company	  fonds,	  	  Box	  63,	  Net	  Workers	  Supplement,	  1949.	  	  UBC	  Rare	  Books	  and	  Special	  Collections	  Anglo-­‐British	  Columbia	  Packing	  Company	  fonds,	  	  Box	  64,	  Catch	  Totals	  By	  Ethnicity,	  1918-­‐1920.	  	  UBC	  Rare	  Books	  and	  Special	  Collections	  Anglo-­‐British	  Columbia	  Packing	  Company	  fonds,	  	  Box	  64,	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  Worker	  Count	  Prepared	  for	  the	  Department	  of	  Marine	  and	  Fisheries,	  1923.	  	  	  Moon	  16	  Selected	  Bibliography	  K.	  Chang.	  Enforcing	  transnational	  white	  solidarity:	  Asian	  migration	  and	  the	  formation	  of	  	  the	  U.S.-­‐Canadian	  boundary.	  American	  Quarterly	  60.3	  (2008)	  671-­‐96.	  	  M.D.	  James.	  Historic	  and	  Present	  Native	  Participation	  in	  Pacific	  Coast	  Commercial	  Fisheries,	  	  Vancouver,	  1984.	  	  C.	  Lyons.	  Salmon,	  Our	  Heritage:	  The	  Story	  of	  a	  Province	  and	  an	  Industry,	  Vancouver,	  1969.	  H.W.	  McKervill.	  The	  Salmon	  People:	  Twenty-­‐Fifth	  Anniversary	  Edition,	  Vancouver,	  1992.	  	  A.	  Muszynski.	  Race	  and	  gender:	  structural	  determinants	  in	  the	  formation	  of	  British	  	  Columbia's	  salmon	  cannery	  labour	  forces."	  The	  Canadian	  Journal	  of	  Sociology	  /	  	  Cahiers	  Canadiens	  De	  Sociologie13.1/2	  (1988):	  103-­‐20.	  JSTOR.	  Web.	  12	  Jan.	  2015.	  	  A.	  Muszynski.	  The	  creation	  and	  organization	  of	  cheap	  wage	  labour	  in	  the	  British	  Columbia	  	  fishing	  industry.	  Thesis.	  University	  of	  British	  Columbia,	  1986.	  	  D.	  Newell.	  The	  Development	  of	  the	  Pacific	  Canning	  Industry:	  A	  Grown	  Man’s	  Game,	  Montreal	  	  and	  Kingston,	  1989.	  	  D.	  Ross.	  Material	  life	  and	  socio-­‐cultural	  transformation	  among	  Asian	  transmigrants	  at	  a	  	  Fraser	  River	  salmon	  cannery."	  Thesis.	  Simon	  Fraser	  University,	  2009.	  	  M.	  Shaffer.	  An	  Economic	  Study	  of	  the	  Structure	  of	  the	  British	  Columbia	  Salmon	  Industry,	  	  Vancouver,	  1979.	  	  	  J.	  Skogan.	  Skeena:	  A	  River	  Remembered,	  Vancouver,	  1983.	  	  A.	  Westerhof.	  Uncovering	  the	  working	  experience	  at	  the	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery:	  The	  	  canning	  line.	  Paper,	  The	  University	  of	  British	  Columbia,	  2013.	  Https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/44428.	  	  Retrieved	  April	  27,	  2015.	  	  	  G.	  Young	  Blyth.	  Salmon	  Canneries:	  British	  Columbia	  North	  Coast,	  Lantzville,	  1991.	  	  Moon	  17	  Appendix	  Ethnicity	   Men	  employed	  in	  cannery	   Women	  employed	  in	  cannery	   Employed	  in	  seine	  boats,	  tugs,	  but	  not	  including	  gill	  net	  fishermen	  	  	  Gill	  net	  fishermen	   Boat	  pullers	   Fishermen	  who	  own	  their	  own	  nets	  	  Whites	   12	   3	   3	   16	   8	   7	  Indians	   8	   48	   	   21	   21	   1	  Japanese	   1	   9	   5	   22	   22	   10	  Chinese	   47	   	   	   	   	   	  Total	   68	   60	   8	   59	   51	   18	  	  UBC	  Rare	  Books	  and	  Special	  Collections	  Anglo-­‐British	  Columbia	  Packing	  Company	  fonds,	  	  Box	  64,	  North	  Pacific	  Cannery	  Worker	  Count	  Prepared	  for	  the	  Department	  of	  Marine	  and	  Fisheries,	  1923.	  	  	  	   	  	  

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
https://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.52966.1-0103580/manifest

Comment

Related Items