Update on the FN Archives

There are a number of Aboriginal/First Nations cultural centres situated throughout the province, as well as the Manitoba Provincial Archives and Manitoba’s universities, which have collections containing First Nations archival content. However, there is no single location that focuses exclusively on First Nations material, and can be easily accessed by the public for education and training purposes. MFNERC hopes to change this.

Our Research & Development Program has set as its goal the creation of a Manitoba First Nations Archives, to be located at our Winnipeg office. To further reach this end, we held an archives workshop on March 10 and 11, 2015. Guest presenters included, Camille Callison, Indigenous Services Librarian from the U of M; Greg Bak, Archival Studies from the U of M; Michelle Rydz, Archivist, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives at the Archives of Manitoba; and Vanda Fleury-Green from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Attendees were members of various First Nations who are interested in supporting the project, particularly as it relates to retaining the traditional knowledge of their own communities.

Greg Bak, Archival Studies, U of M

At a previous advisory committee meeting, it had been determined that building relationships and obtaining records from individuals who are largely part of small communities were two of the key components for the creation of a First Nations archives. That is why it was particularly thrilling to see so many representatives from different First Nations at this workshop. Some of the questions touched on included, Why do we need these archives? How do we create archives that fit into Indigenous systems? What are the best ways to document traditional knowledge? How can archives support curriculum?

Conversations were heartfelt and insightful. And also timely because, as was noted by one participant, “Many of our Elders are passing on and we need to document their knowledge for the next generation.”

Workshops and consultations will continue with this project and we look forward to updating you on the First Nations Archives as it progresses.

Workshop participants
Workshop participants

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