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