Mapping Life in Fort McMurray

Diverse Relations of People, Oil, and Place (2007-2009)

JOAN

Joan

Camp Attendant, Periodic Work in the Region, Staying in Work Camp, Intraprovincial Move, Aboriginal, 50s

“I got a call in June from the local 47 to go to Fort McMurray and I jumped on it. All I had to do is clean the rooms, bathrooms and hallways. . . I actually do love the work and getting the wages that I was getting plus all the benefits, other benefits that go with it, it was awesome.  Here I am making twice the amount of money that I was making working [in Edmonton] in a nice, clean environment with okay people and doing what I love doing, and here I am back here. Thank god for the oil boom. But at the same time, it’s this money thing right?”

“I think a lot of the people [in camp] had drinking problems.  Being isolated and being in a really isolated community with limited activities compounds the drinking. I went into Fort Mac [from camp] – I went to go to attend my 12 step meetings. Otherwise I’m not so sure I would have survived it.  The work camp’s a toxic environment. Even when people aren’t drinking, it’s the whole atmosphere. Everybody’s aggression, aggression it’s in the air. It’s everywhere. People come there with that goal in mind, get in and get out. However, they don’t get out; they keep coming back because they are spending it faster than they can make it. They left their homes, gave up their homes to come and make this big dollar, follow this dream and they just fell in. They got into their addictions, their families broke up.”

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