A Rock and a Hard Place


Gold. It’s a love hate relationship. I love it because it means that I can obtain money to buy things that I want or things that I need. I don’t really understand the money systems of the world.  It seems that we have to search and find gold, dig it out of the ground and then melt it down into large bars and then it gets stored in a big vault somewhere.  I guess some of it is used to make jewelry or other golden objects. So, is there a big vault full of gold bars? Does it sit there for ever? Do we trade it to other countries? Someone please help me with my ignorance.  In a simple explanation, please.

Then there is also the whole environmental impact that industry has on Mother Earth.  That is a concern that cannot be ignored. Whole ecosystems are changed when mines are developed.  The water, the earth, the wildlife and lives of humans are affected. I could go on and on about the negative effects of mining but in reality, this community depends greatly on this industry.

We have to  look ahead and plan for a time when there will be no more gold down below us.

My father came to Red Lake because of gold at the age of 19.  He’s now 86 years old. He fell in love with the area and my mother. He worked in various mines; at that time there were a few different mines going around Red Lake.  He started at Starrat and then worked at Madsen, McKenzie Island and Dickenson. He did a lot of prospecting because he loved being outdoors more than underground.  He also panned for gold.  His pan and his pick now hang on my wall.

A screening for the documentary, “A Rock and a Hard Place” by Cliff Caines was recently held in Red Lake.  It was a totally different film than what I had thought it would be.  It is not your usual mining documentary.  It is about gold mining in Red Lake but it is done so beautifully through photographic video that you get the feeling of the isolated northern location, the lifestyle of the people and the incredible hard and dirty work that miners do way down there hundreds of feet below ground. My dad makes an appearance in the film.

The film maker, Cliff Caines, is from the Red Lake area. His mother worked in the mine here; one of the few women in the mining industry at the time. I thorougly enjoyed the film and I think you would as well, even if you have never been near a mining town in your life.  But, it may bring some emotions to the surface, so beware.

In Red Lake DVD’s may be purchased at our Heritage Centre. They can also be ordered from Cliff at: contact@arockandahardplace.ca.

He will have an online ordering option through the website later this summer.

For a little preview check out the website http://www.arockandahardplace.ca/

Check out the facebook page ahttps://www.facebook.com/arockandahardplacedoc?fref=tst




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