This course aims to take the study of history to one of Northern BC’s foremost national historic sites. The North Pacific Cannery was the longest-operating cannery in British Columbia (canning fish from 1889 until the late 1970s). Aboriginal peoples from the north coast and Skeena River basin, immigrants particularly from China, Japan, the United States, and other people born in Canada worked in various aspects of the commercial fishery of British Columbia, which quickly became part of the industrial and global food economy. In addition to the social and cultural impact on the Tsimshian peoples and the emergence of Canadian towns in the region, these human activities had a massive environmental impact. Salmon stocks were greatly depleted, as canned North Pacific salmon found their way into homes across North America and Europe. The setting of the course offers students the opportunity to learn about how to apply historical knowledge, skills, and methods to a real-world situation, namely a historic site that shapes the views of residents and visitors about the past.
This article highlights some of our experience at the cannery and students’ learning outcomes.
Student travel and accommodation costs were covered by the Undergraduate Experiential and Service Learning Award, generously funded by UNBC donors.