June 19 & 20, 2020: 35th Annual Miners Memorial

June 19-21, 2020

Cumberland Museum and Archives

This weekend marks the 35th anniversary of Miners Memorial in Cumberland.  Every year since 1986 community members, organizers, activists, historians, musicians, families and the labour community have come together to commemorate the sacrifices of workers around the world and right here in Cumberland. Although decades have passed since the last mines closed in Cumberland, the memories of mining and the deep sense of grief over the loss of life underground remains.

The coal mines in Cumberland were some of the most dangerous in Canada, killing over 300 miners in accidents and countless others from work-related illnesses. Appalling working conditions compelled miners to organize and connect with unions from across North America and internationally. Cumberland holds an important place in the global story of workers rights and Miners Memorial Weekend has shone light on that history and critical social justice work that continues today..

This year, in part due to the challenges posed by COVID 19, Miners Memorial organizers have chosen to work on several smaller, decentralized events. As part of this, the Cumberland Museum and Archives is holding space in an intimate short vigil Saturday June 20th at 10 am at #6 Memorial Mine Park, the site of the single largest mining disaster in Cumberlands history.  This is not a public event. Attendees are invited to join via a facebook live event which can be found HERE.

As stewards of the incredible history of the Village of Cumberland, we feel a deep sense of responsibility to honour this day and the countless individuals, families and organizations who have contributed to the remarkable Miners Memorial Weekend legacy in Cumberland. We look forward to the day when we can stand together again, arm in arm, in solidarity with our friends and allies.

If you would like to connect with the Cumberland Museum community this weekend, here’s how.

  1. Join us on Friday Night for Songs of the Workers, online edition This cabaret style concert features stories and music about work, from the historic to the contemporary. From coal mines, textile factories, farms, kitchens and logging camps to fish plants, laundrys, bars, assembly lines and unemployment lines. Work that builds us up and work that tears us down – and the struggles, triumphs and tribulations of all our labours.  The show starts at 8 pm Friday June 19th and features musicians from across BC and beyond. Just click “attending” for the facebook event and then tune in to the event feed Friday night! https://www.facebook.com/events/189800915695951/
  2. Tune into our vigil online on Saturday morning 10-1030 am for brief words from the Museum board and staff, Cumberland Mayor Leslie Baird  and K’omoks First Nation Chief Nicole Rempel as well as music from Alan Jossul and Blaine Dunaway. https://www.facebook.com/events/720432305377252/
  3. Visit the Cumberland Museum between 11 am and 4:30 pm and learn more about diverse communities who called Cumberland home. Purchase a bouquet and visit local cemeteries at any time over the weekend to honour fallen miners and those who have fought and died for justice.