Museums and archives

Learn how the Government of Canada is responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action 67 to 70.

Based on data provided August 2021.

67. We call upon the federal government to provide funding to the Canadian Museums Association to undertake, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, a national review of museum policies and best practices to determine the level of compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to make recommendations.

What's happening?

Canadian Heritage has provided funding to the Canadian Museums Association to support the implementation of Call to Action 67. With this funding, the Canadian Museums Association is working in collaboration with Indigenous peoples for a national review of museum policies and best practices to determine the level of compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to make recommendations.

The Canadian Museums Association was provided a contribution of $680,948 for this multi-year project beginning in 2019 to 2020. The final report and recommendations are expected by March 31, 2022.

68. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, and the Canadian Museums Association to mark the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 2017 by establishing a dedicated national funding program for commemoration projects on the theme of reconciliation.

What's happening?

Through the Canada 150 Fund, over $3.6 million was invested in 5 signature projects that include a strong focus on Indigenous communities, including 2 that are specifically designed to promote reconciliation amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada:

  • Reconciliation Canada events to discuss reconciliation and explore perceptions and actions across Canada
  • Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum for youth in Nunavut to create community video montages in a multi-language exhibition
  • 4Rs Youth Movement for national and local gatherings to reach Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth
  • Indspire for a cross-Canada speaking tour to celebrate achievements of exceptional Indigenous youth
  • Music Yukon for a pan-territorial celebration that brought together artists and athletes in workshops and performances

In addition, $28.6 million has been invested in 248 community projects that contribute to celebrating Indigenous communities or reconciliation amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.

The Canada 150 fund is now closed.

69. We call upon Library and Archives Canada to:

  1. Fully adopt and implement 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. Ensure that its record holdings related to residential schools are accessible to the public.
  3. Commit more resources to its public education materials and programming on residential schools.

What's happening?

In 2018, Library and Archives Canada convened an Indigenous Advisory Circle to advise on various actions, protocols and projects, and the implementation of Indigenous documentary heritage initiatives.

In April 2019, Library and Archives Canada launched the Indigenous Heritage Action Plan, a 5-year plan guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, which was developed in consultation with an Indigenous advisory circle. As stated in the principles and purpose section of the plan, Library and Archives Canada commits to upholding the rights defined by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Joinet-Orentlicher Principles, as follows:

  • International Indigenous rights, as defined by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a declaration to which the Government of Canada is fully committed. Library and Archives Canada has an important role to play in ensuring Indigenous rights to culture and language preservation, as well as managing information relating to Indigenous peoples
  • International rights extend to include victims and survivors of human rights violations, as set out by the United Nations Joinet-Orentlicher Principles. Through the preservation of information documenting human rights abuses, such as those that took place within the residential school system, Library and Archives Canada supports Indigenous peoples' "inalienable right to know the truth about what happened and why."

The plan has 28 concrete actions that Library and Archives Canada will undertake between 2019 and 2024. Library and Archives Canada periodically reports publicly on implementation of the plan through the Indigenous Heritage Action Plan Implementation Progress Report, with an update to be published in 2021.

In addition, Library and Archives Canada developed 2 Indigenous documentary heritage initiatives in 2017 that support the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages and culture in Canada: "We Are Here: Sharing Stories" and "Listen, Hear Our Voices."

The first initiative aims for the mass digitization, preservation and description of relevant documentary heritage in Library and Archives Canada's collection. The second initiative includes a funding program that aims to support Indigenous organizations in their efforts to digitize their existing language and culture recordings, as well as build the skills, knowledge and resources required to carry out this work in their communities.

The "Listen, Hear Our Voices" initiative is not an acquisition project and does not involve the transfer of any ownership, copyright or intellectual property to Library and Archives Canada. All rights remain with the Indigenous communities.

The initiatives were initially funded for a period of 3 years, ending in March 2021.

Recent budget investments

In 2019 to 2020, Library and Archives Canada provided $2.3 million to 31 organizations in support of community projects through the "Listen, Hear Our Voices" funding program.

Recent progress

Library and Archives Canada is undertaking a policy analysis on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples to determine how the declaration will be implemented within the organization. This analysis aims at identifying ways in which the declaration can inform Library and Archives Canada's actions and support the commitments made in the Indigenous Heritage Action Plan.

As part of a multi-year, multi-phase project being carried out by Library and Archives Canada's in-house professionals and in consultation with a diverse range of external stakeholders and Indigenous partners including First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation community members, Library and Archives Canada has removed some incomplete and potentially offensive descriptive content from some of its web pages. On June 18, 2021 an acknowledgement statement from the Librarian and Archivist of Canada was added.

A working group has also developed an initial draft of cultural guidelines to inform Library and Archives Canada's day-to-day actions and substantive directions. The working group is comprised of Indigenous employees at Library and Archives Canada and is currently consulting with the Indigenous Advisory Circle to finalize the guidelines' recommendations.

The 2 Indigenous documentary heritage initiatives, "We Are Here: Sharing Stories" and "Listen, Hear Our Voices," were completed in March 2021.

The first initiative, "We Are Here: Sharing Stories" has digitized and described over 590,000 images of archival and published materials related to First Nations, Inuit and the Métis. Digitized and described Indigenous heritage content includes a Google map that displays the geographical areas to which the collections relate, as well as identifies whether particular content relates to First Nations, Inuit or the Métis Nation.

The second initiative, "Listen, Hear Our Voices," issued a second call in fall 2020 to identify projects that Library and Archives Canada can fund to support community level projects by First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation organizations. The applications were reviewed with advice and guidance from an external committee of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation experts. It has also digitized almost 900 recordings for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation individuals and organizations.

Next steps

Consultation with the Indigenous Advisory Circle regarding implementation of Bill C-15 based on the policy analysis conducted in December 2020.

Library and Archives Canada will continue to report progress publicly and periodically on Call to Action 69 through the Indigenous Heritage Action Plan Implementation Progress Report.

The "Listen, Hear Our Voices" initiative is currently finalizing agreements with recipients from its second funding call.

70. 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.

What's happening?

Library and Archives Canada is collaborating with the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives in fulfilling Call to Action 70.

In September 2015, the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives established the Response to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce with a mandate to address Call to Action 70. The taskforce is comprised of representatives from the archival community and representatives from Indigenous communities and organizations from across Canada.

The taskforce conducted an extensive review of archival policies and best practices, identifying potential barriers to reconciliation efforts between the Canadian archival community and Indigenous record keepers.

The taskforce then worked in collaboration with Indigenous communities, heritage professionals and organizations across Canada to develop an actionable response to this research, which will serve as the foundation for a reconciliation framework for Canadian archives. The draft framework report has been circulated for public consultation, the results of which are being integrated into the final draft.

For further information on the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce, consult the Response to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce.

Recent progress

In July 2020, the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives released the report required by Call to Action 70.ii under the title A Reconciliation Framework for Canadian Archives (PDF) for public consultation. Through the remainder of 2020 and into early 2021, the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives has been working to review feedback received through public consultation and refining the report to reflect this input. In addition, the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives editors have been preparing the draft for final review, translation and publication.

Next steps

Library and Archives Canada will continue to collaborate with the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives for the circulation and implementation of the reconciliation framework elements throughout the Canadian archival community.

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