We call upon the federal government to provide funding to the Canadian Association of Archivists to undertake, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, a national review of archival policies and best practices to: 

  1. Determine the level of compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Joinet-Orentlicher Principles, as related to Aboriginal peoples’ inalienable right to know the truth about what happened and why, with regard to human rights violations committed against them in the residential schools. 
  2. Produce a report with recommendations for full implementation of these international mechanisms as a reconciliation framework for Canadian archives

Indigenous Watchdog Status Report

Current StatusOct. 4, 2021IN PROGRESS
Previous StatusSept. 5, 2021IN PROGRESS

Why “In Progress”?

On July 2, 2020 a “Reconciliation Framework for Canadian Archives, Draft for Public Review” was released by the Canadian Association of Archivists who had received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant to fulfill its mandate of responding to C2A # 70. The Canadian Association of Archivists received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant to fulfill its mandate of responding to C2A # 70. A Truth and Reconciliation Task Force (TRC-TF) has been established with three primary goals:

  1. To identify, by working with Indigenous communities, how Canada’s archives might move towards reconciliation, in light of both UNDRIP and UNJOP.
  2. To produce recommendations for full implementation of the findings of the above research.
  3. To design a reconciliation framework, in collaboration with Indigenous communities, which actively engages and includes Indigenous cultural memory-keepers, their perspectives and methodologies, within the Canadian archival system.

The Vision, 6 Principles, 7 Objectives and 33 Strategies are intended to form a practical framework supporting the Canadian archival community as it begins to redress its colonial legacy..

Timelines for National Review of Archival Polices and Best Practices

July 2, 2020– Release of “A Reconciliation Framework for Canadian Archives: A Draft for Public Review” in response to TRC Call to Action # 70

March, 2019 – A Reconciliation Visioning Circle held in Vancouver in March 2019 reviewed a draft “Indigenous Outreach Summary Report” to draft a series of principles, protocols, and recommendations for Canadian archives.

May 1, 2018 – Funding from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Insight Development Grant will go a long way to support the continued efforts of the TRC-Task Force in achieving its mandate. The TRC-TF and its Indigenous partners will continue outreach and dialogic engagement, expand its literature review and undertake comparative analysis to form its final report. The report will list actionable recommendations to national, provincial and territorial archival associations and institutions as well as to the individual professional and present a set of protocols and principles pertaining to the culturally responsive management of Indigenous archival resources. https://archives2026.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/survey-report-1-june-2018.pdf

April 5, 2017 – Canada’s Archives Task Force Project Charter (v.2) released. Response to the Report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Jan. 23, 2017 – TRC-Task Force members will begin collaborations on their team-based assignments

A Reconciliation Framework for Canadian Archives

July 2, 2020 – Release of a “Draft for Public Review” with 6 Principles, 7 Objectives and 33 Strategies intended to form a practical framework supporting the Canadian archival community as it begins to redress its colonial legacy.

Vision Statement

Guided by truth, reciprocity, and mutual respect, the Canadian archival community supports Indigenous Peoples’ sovereignty and self-determination by actively committing to its role and responsibilities in building equitable relationships with Inuit, Métis, and First Nations communities. These relationships will respect and recognize Indigenous Peoples’ inherent and inalienable right to ownership and sovereignty over their records, recorded memory, knowledge, and information.

Principles

  1. All Canadian archivists accept the responsibility of proactive respectful engagement led by Indigenous community priorities.
  2. The Canadian archival community acknowledges that this work requires sustained investments in human and financial resources. The equitable sharing of such resources is essential to building capacity in Indigenous and archival communities.
  3. The Canadian archival community commits to, and advocates for, shifting institutional priorities to respond to the needs of Indigenous communities.
  4. The Canadian archival community supports future generations by working collaboratively with Elders and Youth in the revitalization of Indigenous memory, knowledge, governance and legal systems.
  5. The Canadian archival community acknowledges that Indigenous peoples – First Nations, Inuit, and Métis – are diverse, distinct and sovereign nations.
  6. The Canadian archival community is committed to reconciliation and relationship building guided by the principles of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and United Nations Joinet- Orentlicher Principles and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

Objectives

  • Objective 1: Relationships of Respect, Responsibility, Relevance and Reciprocity
  • Objective 2: Governance and Management Structures
  • Objective 3: Professional Practice
  • Objective 4: Ownership, Control and Possession
  • Objective 5: Access
  • Objective 6: Arrangement and Description
  • Objective 7: Education

For full details, open the following link.

https://archives2026.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/reconciliationframeworkforarchives_july2020_en.pdf

TRC Task Force Actions

Fundamental project goals are:

  1. To identify, by working with Indigenous communities, how Canada’s archives might move towards reconciliation, in light of both UNDRIP and UNJOP.
  2. To produce recommendations for full implementation of the findings of the above research.
  3. To design a reconciliation framework, in collaboration with Indigenous communities, which actively engages and includes Indigenous cultural memory-keepers, their perspectives and methodologies, within the Canadian archival system.

Additional anticipated outcomes include:

  1. Full inclusion of the voices of Indigenous record-keepers / cultural memory keepers within Canadian archival discourse; and
  2. Increased collaboration with Indigenous communities towards the respectful management of archival materials pertaining to them and their histories, but still in the custody of Canada’s archives.

To achieve these goals, the following activities will be undertaken by Indigenous and non-Indigenous project researchers:

  • A review of archival policies and practices existent across Canada, and a Canada wide survey of archival professionals to identify potential barriers to, or practices in support of, reconciliation efforts between the Canadian archival community and Indigenous record-keepers.
  • An international literature review to assess discourse on related topics (i.e. reconciliation, participatory archiving, existing protocols & principles documentation, etc.).
  • Outreach, dialogue and collaboration with Indigenous community representatives from tribal councils, cultural centres, and territorial governments across Canada whose responsibility it is to oversee programs pertaining to traditional Indigenous knowledge. Discussions will focus on how Canadian archives should manage Indigenous archival resources and programs, and how the Canadian archival profession can successfully include Indigenous record-keepers as archival “colleagues”.
  • Development of living protocols & principles and an overarching reconciliation framework through which to support the culturally appropriate management of Indigenous related materials held in care by Canadian archives and to address “Call to Action #70.”
Joinet/Orentlicher Principles

Calls to action no’s 69 and 70 refer to Aboriginal peoples’ ‘inalienable right to know the truth about what happened and why, with regard to human rights violations committed against them in the residential schools’. What is this right to know the truth?

People who have been subjected to human rights violations have a right to know the truth, as part of their right to an effective remedy. The right to know the truth even has its own day – 24 March – as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2010.

In international law, the right to know the truth is most commonly referred to in connection to enforced disappearances and action to combat impunity. It is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and in the Updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights through Action to Combat Impunity (2005), more commonly known as the Joinet/Orentlicher Principles.

Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

In 2016, 5 organizations representing the archival community established a non-governmental committee to, in part, oversee the implementation of Call to Action 70. In 2018, this committee, called the Standing Committee on Canada’s Archives, obtained financial support from the federal government through a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant.

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report Response Task Force is currently in a data analysis and drafting stage, examining existing policies, protocols and best practices for reconciliation and decolonization in the Canadian and international archival communities. First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners have been recruited to participate in task force activities. In July 2017, the task force launched the Survey on Reconciliation Action & Awareness in Canadian Archives to acquire data on the state of readiness within Canadian archives to engage in reconciliation and to identify work already in progress by documentary heritage institutions in Canada.

Between August 2018 and March 2019, the task force members conducted outreach interviews with Indigenous organizations representatives and the information gathered from these conversations was anonymized and compiled into a draft Indigenous Outreach Summary Report. Members of the task force gathered in Vancouver in March 2019 for a Reconciliation Visioning Circle. During this event, the task force reviewed the results of outreach and research to date and endeavoured to draft a series of principles, protocols, and recommendations for Canadian archives.