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Interview with Tom Paulley

Oral History interview with Tom Paulley (00h 32mmm 17ss), conducted by Janis Thiessen in 2016. The interview is indexed and fully transcribed. The Related Interview Documents file contains all documentation contributed by Tom Paulley, including: 2 digital photographs (pdf format), correspondence, a news page (1969), and an unpublished account of the 1919 General Strike: “The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. (Rough draft by Les. Paulley).”

Tom Paulley was born in 1952. His grandfather, Les Paulley, was a participant in the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. Les Paulley was 17 years old at the time, and employed as a telegraph courier. Tom was a high school student and learned about the 1918 strike that preceded the 1919 general strike. Tom asked his grandfather about that time period, which prompted him to share his memories of the 1919 strike with him. These memories were very general, in the form of lessons that “the struggle never really ends for better working conditions, better pay, better everything for working men and women” and the awareness that the 1919 strike was not a Bolshevik conspiracy. Those conversations may have prompted Les Paulley to write a brief, impersonal account of the strike for his family. After the 1919 strike, Les Paulley worked as a car man with the Canadian National Railway and unsuccessfully ran as a CCF candidate in the 1958 federal and 1959 Manitoba provincial elections. Tom Paulley worked briefly in the Northwest Territories for Arctic Cooperatives Ltd. before a career in government with the Community Services and Corrections Department and as a correctional officer at the Headingley Correctional Institution. Tom ran unsuccessfully for the NDP in the 2011 and 2015 federal elections.

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Communicative Memory of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike

1 Series comprised of 6 Interviews (05hh 08mm 40ss) conducted as part of the Communicative Memory of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike Project. The interviews have been indexed and transcribed in full. Some interview files include photographs, correspondence, and archival material.

The project began in response to Janis Thiessen’s involvement on the planning committee for the 1919-2019 Winnipeg General Strike Centenary Conference. In late 2016 she interviewed six descendants of the those involved on both sides of the 1919 Strike, asking them to share stories they heard about the strike from their relatives, the lessons they learned from those stories, and how those stories shaped their own understandings of labour issues, unions, and social and economic justice.

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Interview with Rick Gallant, Gloria Gallant, and Bob Gallant

Oral History interview with Betty Riediger (01h 29mmm 16ss), conducted by Sarah Story in 2019. The interview is transcribed and indexed. It includes one file of related documents containing 17 photographs.

Sarah Story interviews Rick, Gloria and Bob Gallant of Letellier Manitoba about Gallant’s Family Food Store and Del’s Foods. Gallant’s was a multi-generational independent grocery store originally established by Rick and Bob Gallant’s grandparents in Letellier in 1923. The Gallant’s ran the Franco-Canadian family business until it was sold, along with Del’s Foods, in Jan. 2013. The Gallants describe their lives prior to taking over the store before explaining the ways they expanded their business to include Del’s Foods. They describe their relationships with their suppliers and other businesses in Letellier, in addition to the decline and eventual sale of their business.

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Interview with Ken Riediger

Oral History interview with Betty Riediger (01h 29mmm 16ss), conducted by Sarah Story, Winnipeg Manitoba, 2019. The interview is transcribed and indexed.

Sarah Story interviews Mr. Ken Riediger about the independent grocery store his family operated on Isabel Street. Riediger describes his life story, including his entrance into the family business at age fourteen. Later in the interview Riediger details his German/Mennonite background and how it was a key factor in the store’s initial success between the 1960s and 1980s. Riediger explains both the day-to-day operation of an independent grocery store, and the overall culture of working in a family owned and local community-oriented business. Riediger explains the factors that lead to the decline and eventual closing of the store. Key factors include stifling control by suppliers, encroachment by larger chain retailers, demographic shifts in the neighbourhood, and government regulation making operation less profitable.

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Interview with Betty Riediger

Oral History interview with Betty Riediger (01h 29mmm 16ss), conducted by Janis Thiessen in 2019. The interview is transcribed and indexed, and includes a related documents file containing 2 photographs, interviewer's notes and question guide.

Dr. Thiessen interviews Mrs. Betty Riediger about the independent grocery store Riediger operated with her husband on Isabel Street in Winnipeg,MB. She describes the store’s humble beginnings and gradual expansion after becoming popular amongst Mennonite/German immigrants. After a long period of struggles, the store closed in January 2012. Mrs. Riediger then discusses her life story. She describes her childhood on her parent’s farm in Saskatchewan during the Great Depression and her family’s move to Manitoba. She describes her work history as a domestic worker and secretary prior to marriage. Other topics of discussion include day to day operations, offering purchases on credit, specialty ingredients and competition with chain grocers.

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Independent Grocers Project

1 Series of interviews containing 3 Interview Files (05hh 32mm 12ss). All interviews are transcribed and indexed.

The purpose of this project was to study the history of the independent grocery store in Manitoba, a sector of food retail that has been disappearing over the last fifty years. There are a few histories of individual corporations and national histories of corner stores. However, there is no Canadian history of independent grocers despite their century-long existence. Funding was provided by a University of Winnipeg Major Research Grant, which permitted the hiring of Sarah Story (then a graduate student in the Joint Master’s Program in History) as a research assistant. A total of four interviews were conducted from 2016 to 2017. Three of the interviews were for public access and were transcribed. Interview participants were solicited through personal connections with the research team.

The scope of this project was expanded to become part of the Manitoba Food History Project.

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Interview with Lisa Walter

Oral history interview: Dana Naismith interviewing Lisa Walter in 2017 (55mm38ss). Topics include: Walter's experience with mental illness, and mental health activism. Work with “psychiatric survivors,” academics, and public speaking and work with grassroots organizations, primarily in Toronto, Ontario before moving to Winnipeg, MB.

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Interview with Ken Reddig

Oral History Interview with Ken Reddig conducted by Kristen Hardy in 2017 (1hh14mm19ss).

Reddig describes his involvement mental health activism/advocacy work is a result of the difficulties he experienced from sexual abuse as a child. He was not able to disclose or get help for the mental health problems this caused until late in life because of the social taboos against men disclosing and discussing sexual abuse and the lack of appropriate helping resources, especially for men. He got assistance after he attempted suicide twice. He feels lucky to have ended up with the help of a psychiatrist, a counsellor, and a group for men who have experienced sexual abuse. Reddig is retired and spends most of his time with various types of advocacy for mental health. He started two support groups for people who have experienced childhood sexual abuse (Winnipeg and a rural area). He sits on a number of committees advocating, advising, and fund raising for mental health services. He does extensive public speaking, often in schools to raise awareness about childhood sexual abuse and to encourage people to seek help. He does not counsel people and is aware of his limitations, but he recognizes that self-help and peer support groups do a tremendous amount of work that would otherwise not be available or would be done by mental health professionals at a much greater cost.

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Interview with Nigel Bart

Oral History Interview with Nigel Bart conducted by Karen Clements in 2017 (1hh40mm46ss).

Bart tells the story of his first experiences with schizophrenia symptoms and with receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia. When he received a diagnosis of a ‘schizophrenia-like illness’, he felt some relief and hope. He accepted this interpretation of his strange and terrifying experiences; the recognition and naming gave him a sense that this was something that could be dealt with and was real. He had strong support from his close family, but from the beginning he found himself educating others about mental illness. He went through first-year university without telling people about his illness, but decided he needed to express and share this aspect of himself. He produced a performance art piece about stigma around mental illness that has been presented numerous times and made into a video (Inside Out). He speaks about feeling bound and restricted by the stigma around mental illness and he wanted to own his experiences in order to help educate others. He developed a community of friends interested in mental illness, art, and music. Art was a healing modality for him. With help from his family and community, he started an art studio and organization (Artbeat Studio) for supporting individuals with a self-declared mental illness to work on, learn about, and develop their art. Bart states there are different types of activists, some more strident and wanting to work from outside existing systems. Believes strongly in collaboration and sits on numerous government advisory boards regarding mental health and recovery.

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Interview with Taylor Demetrioff

Oral History Interview with Taylor Demetrioff, conducted by Debra Dusome in 2017 (24mm02ss).

Demetrioff speaks to experiencing mental health problems since childhood, starting therapy and treatment in his late teens, and how his own experiences motivated him to reach out and make difficult journeys a little easier for other kids, to hopefully prevent other kids from having the difficulties he has experienced. His goals have broadened to building a community that shares hard earned stories of difficulties, where others understand and supports each other. Explains his work is all about personal connection, he’s found social media a means for building community without a physical location and for reaching people far and wide. Taylor has worked at these goals for last seven years through a music program for youth (Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba), public speaking, and development of a camp to support youth. Taylor develops mental health awareness merchandize (e.g., T-shirts) with other artists to raise public awareness and reduce stigma. At the time of the interview, Demetrioff has a paid job speaking in schools about mental health, though most of his activist work is as a volunteer; he takes whatever opportunities he can to reach out to others.

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