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 March 2023.
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.
Canadian Heritage has provided funding to the Canadian Museums Association to support the implementation of Call to Action 67.
The Canadian Museums Association was provided a contribution of $680,948 for this multi-year project beginning in 2019.
With this funding, the Canadian Museums Association worked in collaboration with Indigenous peoples on 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
- make recommendations
The final report and recommendations: Moved to Action: Report and Standards on Activating UNDRIP in Canadian Museums was published on September 27, 2022.
With the publication of the report, Call to Action 67 is complete.
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.
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:
- 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.
- Ensure that its record holdings related to residential schools are accessible to the public.
- Commit more resources to its public education materials and programming on residential schools.
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. With new funding received in 2021, a second iteration of the Indigenous Advisory Circle is under way.
In April 2019, Library and Archives launched the Indigenous Heritage Action Plan, a 5 year plan guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action. Library and Archives's plan was developed in consultation with the Indigenous Advisory Circle.
As stated in the principles and purpose section of its plan, Library and Archives commits to respecting 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 has an important role to play in ensuring Indigenous rights to culture and language preservation, and in 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 pLibrary and Archivese within the residential school system, Library and Archives supports Indigenous peoples’ "inalienable right to know the truth about what happened and why."
The plan has 28 concrete actions that Library and Archives will undertake between 2019 and 2024. Library and Archives periodically reports publicly on implementation of the plan through the Indigenous Heritage Action Plan Implementation Progress Report, with an update to be published in 2023.
In addition, Library and Archives developed two 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 initiatives were initially funded for a period of 3 years, ending in March 2021. They received additional funding in Budget 2021 and will continue to operate until August 2024.
We Are Here: Sharing stories
This initiative aims for the mass digitization, preservation and description of records reflecting the history and experience, languages, and cultures of First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation in the collections at Library and Archives.
Library and Archives digitizes these records through consultations with Indigenous communities and organizations such as the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
Listen, Hear Our Voices
This initiative includes a funding program to support Indigenous organizations in the following areas:
- digitizing their existing language and culture recordings
- building the skills, knowledge and resources required to carry out this work in their communities
This is not an acquisition project and does not involve the transfer of any ownership, copyright or intellectual property to Library and Archives. All rights remain with the Indigenous communities.
Recent budget investments
In its first 3 years of supporting community projects through the Listen, Hear Our Voices funding program, Library and Archives provided:
- $2.3 million to 31 organizations in 2019 to 2020
- $739,000 to 19 organizations in 2020 to 2021
With new funding received in 2021, Library and Archives will provide:
- $1.7 million to 25 organizations in 2022
- another $2.3 million will be allocated over the next two years
Library and Archives has received $25 million over three years through Budget 2022 to digitize and describe six million pages of records related to the Federal Indian Day School system. Through enhanced description and increased discoverability, this project seeks to ensure that survivors and Indigenous communities have improved access to the historical records that provide a source of truth for Canada's collective effort of reconciliation.
Library and Archives is undertaking a policy analysis on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of 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's actions and support the commitments made in the Indigenous Heritage Action Plan.
As part of a multi-year, multi-phase project led by Library and Archives, in-house professionals will be involved, and there will be consultation with a diverse range of external stakeholders and Indigenous partners.
Library and Archives has removed incomplete and potentially offensive descriptive content from some of its web pages.
A working group has also developed an initial draft of cultural guidelines to inform Library and Archives's day-to-day actions and substantive directions.
Since 2019, Library and Archives has been working with Indigenous librarians and knowledge keepers to amend the language used to describe First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation published heritage material.
The We Are Here: Sharing Stories initiative digitized and described Indigenous heritage content including over 590,000 images of archival and published materials related to First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation. It will digitize a further 450,000 images by 2024.
The Listen, Hear Our Voices initiative issued its fourth call in fall 2022 to identify projects that Library and Archives can fund to support community-level projects by First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation organizations. The applications are reviewed with advice and guidance from an external committee of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation experts.
As part of Library and Archives's fulfillment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action 69, subsections ii and iii, the Web and Social Media Preservation Program curated the following:
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) web archive, in collaboration with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and the University of Winnipeg and Manitoba Libraries. The collection includes many copies of the official website, full or partial websites on reconciliation and healing, blogs, videos, newspapers, and media content. It was described using correct and sensitive terms within the University of Manitoba Libraries' Indigenous Subject Headings. This collection is publicly available through the Library and Archives website, and it comprises some 5.1 million digital assets.
- It preserved the official website of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and curated a collection documenting MMIWG. That official website is still live, but it will be likely be taken down in 2023–24. Upon request and in collaboration with the Privy Council Office, the digital preservation copies of the MMIWG official website held at Library and Archives will be made available to the public through redirection from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Further, Library and Archives's collection on MMIWG, comprising some 968,000+ assets, will be made available to the public in 2023–24.
- While curating the TRC collections, the program at Library and Archives put added effort into documenting Indigenous cultural and historical events across Canada. This included the acquisition of Indigenous-owned web-based media, as well as the national media with respect to recent discoveries at Residential Schools. Together these Indigenous collections, independent of those for the TRC and MMIWG, comprise an additional 89 million assets and approximately two terabytes of data. These collections will be made available to the public in 2023–24 on the new Government of Canada Web Archive.
We Are Here: Sharing Stories and Listen, Hear Our Voices are well underway.
Library and Archives will continue to report on progress publicly, and periodically on Call to Action 69, through the Indigenous Heritage Action Plan Implementation Progress Report.
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:
- 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.
- Produce a report with recommendations for full implementation of these international mechanisms as a reconciliation framework for Canadian archives.
Library and Archives Canada is collaborating with the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives in fulfilling the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 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 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.
To find out more on the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives response consult the Response to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce.
In July 2020, the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives released the report required by Call to Action 70, subsection ii, under the title A Reconciliation Framework for Canadian Archives (PDF), for public consultation. Through the remainder of 2020 and in 2021, the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives worked to review the feedback received through public consultation and to refine the report to reflect this input.
The committee released its final report, the reconciliation framework, in February 2022. On March 10, 2022, the Board of Directors of the Association of Canadian Archivists voted unanimously to endorse the report.
With A Reconciliation Framework for Canadian Archives published, this call to action is now completed.
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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