Update from the SCCA Response to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force (TRC-TF) – July 2017

Update from the SCCA Response to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force (TRC-TF) – July 2017

Dear members of the Canadian archival community,

I am pleased to provide a belated report on the work of the TRC-TF. Since our last report four months ago, we have been actively engaged in getting the first elements of this project underway. Here is a quick overview of our progress to date:

Governance & Administration

  • Completed Research Ethic Board applications for review and approval to the three universities who employ three of the ten TRC-TF members (University of Northern British Columbia, Laurentian University and Algoma University).
  • Completed a SSHRC Connection Grant application to secure funding for TRC-TF activities.

Relationship Development & Work with Indigenous Partners

  • Secured 7 Indigenous Partners to serve with us on the TRC-TF in a fully collaborative capacity – we are still hoping to find 3 more.
  • Worked with our Indigenous Partners on the development of the Survey on Reconciliation Action & Awareness in Canadian Archives (available in both French and English)

Outreach

  • Developed outreach protocols for engaging in a respectful and comprehensive way with Indigenous umbrella organizations, including: determination of clear objectives, extent of engagement, a clear communication strategy and identification of specific organizations across Canada to be contacted.
  • Presented on the scope of work of the TRC –TF to the Commonwealth Association of Museums Roundtable in Calgary, AB, June 21, 2017.
  • Presented on the scope of work of the TRC –TF to the Beyond Hope Conference in Prince George, BC, June 13, 2017.

Relationship Development with Heritage Sector Organizations:

  • Established a formal relationship of collaboration with the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA/FCAB) Standing Committee on Indigenous Matters. Camille Callison, Chair of the Indigenous Matters Committee will serve on the TRC-TF as an Indigenous Partner; while I will serve as a member of the Indigenous Matters Committee. Through this collaborative approach to reconciliation research we hope to not only eradicate the duplication of efforts, we also hope to contribute to each other’s process in a meaningful way. This collaboration also being critical as in many Indigenous communities, archives, museums and libraries are not often differentiated from one another.
  • Established an informal relationship with the Canadian Museums Association “Museums and Indigenous Issues Project.” Led by Jameson Brandt, this multi-year initiative will take place in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) recommendations, to address the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to consider other relevant issues.
  • Secured 1 year free memberships from provincial/territorial archival associations and from the ACA and AAQ for each of our Indigenous Partners as a gift of reciprocity in exchange for their engagement in this project.

Upcoming Tasks: With the release of the Survey on Reconciliation Action & Awareness in Canadian Archives on July 4, 2017 the TRC-TF will redirect its focus on the following tasks throughout the summer:

  1. Compiling Survey Results – We will begin this task on July 21st.
  2. Outreach – A fundamental step in the work of the TRC-TF will be to develop a balanced perspective on how effectively Canadian archives manage access and engagement with the Indigenous information resources in their care, and how successfully the Canadian archival profession includes Indigenous record keepers within its collegial embrace. To find this perspective, Task Force members will contact representatives from Indigenous umbrella organizations such as tribal councils, cultural centres and territorial governments, whose responsibility it is to oversee programs pertaining to traditional Indigenous knowledge, whether in the form of archives, language or heritage program development, treaty research, libraries, artifact collections, traditional land use studies.

Through this outreach and dialogic engagement all Task Force members will engage community representatives in conversation from both a Client Engagement Perspective and a Collegial Engagement Perspective. Members will seek to identify and understand existing relationships, issues and challenges encountered by Indigenous organizations (i.e. employees and/or volunteers thereof) as either a client or patron who uses Canadian archives for research; or as Indigenous record-keepers interacting on a collegial level within our profession. Through this outreach component of our project, it is also our intent to begin the process of relationship-building with Indigenous record-keepers and to extend a formal invitation to participate on a collegial level with the Canadian archival community – if they have not already done so or thought of doing so. At this point, outreach activities are expected to continue well into December 2017.

If grant funding is received this outreach will be done primarily face to face when practicable to do so. If funding is not received, this outreach will be done via email and telephone.

  1. Expanded Literature Review – Undertaken concurrently with this outreach work will be an ‘expanded’ literature review; whereby, we will be contacting authors of archival and related professional discourse pertaining to reconciliation work, participatory archiving, cross-cultural engagement and the development of a multi-cultural collegial network of professionals after reading the discourse. We will be following up with them about their conclusions: to see if they still stand, if they would make any changes to their methodology or proposed outreach strategies, or if they have any additional words of advice to offer to us as we continue along on our path towards reconciliation. At this point, research and engagement activities are expected to continue into January 2018.

In Grateful Acknowledgment: The work we have done to date is complex and time-consuming. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to each one of my tremendous team members who have worked tirelessly – off the side of their desks, evenings and weekends, shuffling work and family obligations – to get us as far as we are today.  I know the tremendous scope of our project and for all of your efforts and dedication I would like to say “Thank You”.

Call for Interest: I would also like to welcome anyone to contact me directly if they would like to take up the task of seeking additional funding for our work. It has been challenging, to say the least, to find funding streams geared towards reconciliation work within a profession, rather than as part of an Indigenous, educational or artistic program.

And as always, if you have any comments, suggestions or questions with regards to our work you are always welcomed and encouraged to contact me directly at Erica.hernandez-read@unbc.ca . As well, for TRC-TF documentation and updates, please check out our page on the SCCA’s newly launched website at https://archives2026.com/ .

Regards,

Erica Hernández-Read

Chair, Response to the Report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force

Invitation to Participate: Survey on Reconciliation Action & Awareness in Canadian Archives

The Response to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force (TRC-TF) of the Steering Committee on Canada’s Archives, invites you to participate in this survey on reconciliation action and awareness in Canadian archives. The purpose of this survey is to gather and then review institutional policies, best practices, and related perceptions existent in archives across the country as they pertain to engagement with, and support for Indigenous community members and researchers. The results of this survey will be used to identify potential barriers to, or practices in support of, reconciliation efforts between the Canadian archival community and Indigenous communities across Canada.

Survey Link: http://unbc.fluidsurveys.com/s/TRC-TF-Survey/

Survey Completion Deadline: July 21, 2017

INTENDED PARTICIPANTS

This survey is open to all members of the Canadian archival community regardless of their role, employment status, the size of their archives, or whether they classify their archives as a ‘formal’ or ‘informal’ repository. Multiple responses from archivists within a single large institution are welcome. This survey is available in both English and French – please contact the TRC-TF Chair if you did not receive the survey in your language of preference.

SURVEY FORMAT & NOTES

This survey consists of 41 questions organized into the following 4 main themes, with some introductory and wrap up sections:

  • Policies and Procedures related to Indigenous Information Resources
  • Relationships
  • Awareness
  • Reconciliation

This survey will take approximately 10-30 min to complete, but your work can be saved and reopened at a later time. Respondents will also be able to edit their responses to completed surveys up until the survey submission deadline of July 21, 2017.

Please note, not all questions are mandatory.

For the purpose of this survey, we define “Indigenous Peoples” as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples of Canada.

PRIVACY AND DATA USAGE

All responses will remain confidential.  Data collected will be summarized, anonymized and amalgamated into a survey report. All original surveys will be retained until the TRC-TF mandate expires or by December 2018 – whichever comes first – at which time they will be destroyed. While the survey maintains the overall anonymity of respondents, its structure does provide the opportunity for respondents to further discuss their institution’s various outreach programs, policies and/or practices with a member of the TRC-TF if they so choose. If this option is selected, the respondent will be asked to provide their name and a contact email through which dialogue will begin. All contact information collected through this means, will again be retained until the TRC-TF mandate expires or by December 2018 – whichever comes first – at which time it will be destroyed.

CONTACT

Should you have any additional questions or concerns regarding this survey, please do not hesitate to contact Erica Hernández-Read, TRC-TF Chair (Erica.hernandez-read@unbc.ca).

Thank you for your participation!

Update on the Steering Committee on Canada’s Archives (SCCA)

The Steering Committee on Canada’s Archives (SCCA) was established in spring 2016 to act on priorities identified in “Canada’s Archives – A New Blueprint” and to build on the work of the Canadian Archival System Working Group.

Since its launch, SCCA has met in-person in June and October 2016 and has also held several teleconferences.  SCCA has established three taskforces to act in key priority areas:

AWARENESS STRATEGY TASKFORCE

Jacinthe Duval (Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec) and Heather Gordon (City of Vancouver) have been appointed as taskforce co-leads.  This taskforce will focus on ensuring that both the public and decision-makers understand the value and importance of archives and will explore the creation of a national advocacy strategy and tools that can be used by archives and archivists across Canada.  This taskforce recently selected its members and is currently working on identifying priorities and developing a project charter.

RESPONSE TO THE REPORT ON THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION TASKFORCE

Erica Hernández-Read (University of Northern British Columbia) has been appointed as taskforce lead.

The Taskforce will conduct a review of archival policies and best practices existent across the country and identify potential barriers to reconciliation efforts between the Canadian archival community and Indigenous record keepers. With such a review in hand, the Taskforce will then work in collaboration with Indigenous  communities  to create an actionable response to this research which will become the foundation for a reconciliation framework for Canadian archives. A project charter and an action plan have already been developed, and an activity update report was shared on Arcan-L earlier this month.

TASKFORCE ON THE ARCHIVAL WORKFORCE

Patricia Forget (Université du Québec en Outaouais) and Kathryn Harvey (University of Guelph) have been appointed as taskforce co-leads.  This taskforce will seek to develop a better understanding of the current and future archives workforce, by exploring linkages between archival education programs offered by universities and colleges, and the challenges experienced by workplace practitioners.  This taskforce recently selected its members and is currently working on the development of a project charter and work plan.

STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS:

As of February 1, 2017, Fred Farrell (Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists) agreed to become the new SCCA Chair, replacing Lara Wilson (Canadian Council of Archives), who will continue to serve as a regular member of SCCA.  We thank Lara for her work over the past year.

Luciana Duranti and Jim Suderman have replaced Kathryn Harvey and Duncan Grant as representatives for the Association of Canadian Archivists.  Ms. Harvey will continue to work with SCCA as a taskforce co-lead and we wish Mr. Grant the very best for his retirement.

For any questions on SCCA, please contact Fred Farrell at: Fred.Farrell@gnb.ca.

Update from the SCCA Response to the Report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force (TRC-TF) – Feb. 2017

As you may recall, the mandate of the SCCA Response to the Report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force (TRC-TF) is to conduct a review of archival policies and best practices existent across the country and to identify potential barriers to reconciliation efforts between the Canadian archival community and Indigenous record keepers. With such a review in hand, the Task Force will then work in collaboration with Indigenous  community partners  to create an actionable response to this research which will become the foundation for a reconciliation and decolonization framework for Canadian archives. The following is a summary of the TRC-TF Action Plan (v.5) submitted to the SCCA Steering Committee on January 30, 2017 which outlines the specific activities and timelines TRC-TF members will engage in and work towards as they fulfill this mandate.

Summary of Planned Activity:

*   Beginning 23 January 2017, TRC-TF members will begin collaborations on their team-based assignments. The first activities to be undertaken include identifying and soliciting financial support from potential institutional partners and funding agencies. This funding, if received, will be applied towards travel costs for community outreach and for TRC-TF members to undertake a “History Matters” reconciliation dialogue workshop at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation which will assist them in grounding themselves within the legacy of the Indian Residential School system.

*   Initial activities also include developing and disseminating an on-line survey to the Canadian archival community as a means through which to obtain perspectives / requirements / questions / concerns / hopes for reconciliation within a Canadian archival context, and to obtain samples of existent policies or protocols employed by Canadian archivists for the purposes of decolonizing institutional access to, and description of, archival holdings.

*   Concurrently, TF team members will undertake the identification and development of appropriate communications protocols and a comprehensive outreach strategy in preparation for March-July 2017 outreach initiatives with Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada. Through these community outreach initiatives it is hoped that many Indigenous record-keepers will be inspired towards collaboration and will agree to engage with us as we collectively work towards the development of draft Protocol and Principles documentation.

*   The next round of activities will include conducting a literature search spanning both national and international archival discourse around reconciliation, and any pertinent discourse identified within other professions (i.e. library science, museum studies, social work, etc.) so as to highlight what reconciliation activities have been undertaken; what has worked and what has failed; and to highlight decolonization strategies which might be successful if applied within a Canadian archival context.

*   Following on the heels of this literature research will be direct one-on-one follow-up dialogue by TRC-TF team members with the authors and contributors to this discourse to really gain a sense of how their past work towards reconciliation is, or is not, being continued into the present. Indigenous cultural experts identified during community outreach activities who are willing and able to engage directly with TRC-TF team members in this way will also be consulted as part of this dialogue process.

*   Data obtained through the survey, community outreach activities, literature search, and follow-up dialogue will be synthesized down to its essence to form the foundation of the Protocols and Principles documentation. Once drafted by the designated TRC-TF team in collaboration with our Indigenous partners, and vetted through by the entire TRC-TF, the draft Protocol and Principles documents will be released to the Canadian archival community and Indigenous communities to solicit feedback. This release is tentatively scheduled for the beginning of April 2018, with the conclusion of this iterative process by the end of May 2018.

*   A final report, outlining research methodology and findings, a list of recommendations for action, and the final draft Protocol and Principles documents will be submitted to the SCCA Steering Committee by the end of September 2018. Once approved, all documentation will be publically disseminated to the broader Canadian archival community and Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada.

*   Our Indigenous partners, communities and organizations who worked with us throughout this process will then be publically acknowledged for their contributions and thanked.

*   It is anticipated that all work by the TRC-TF will be concluded by the October 2018 meeting of the SCCA Steering Committee.

If you have any input/questions/concerns you would like to share with the TRC-TF please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Erica Hernández-Read, Chair

On behalf of Response to the Report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Steering Committee on Canada’s Archives