A lecture by Jesse Boiteau, Head of Archives, National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation.

Join the first session of the Winter 2023 edition of the open classroom series, Antiracism & Decolonization in Archives & Records Management: Open Classroom Series, co-hosted by Dr. Jamila Ghaddar (Dalhousie U) and Krystal Payne (UofM) as part of their courses, INFO6370 Records Management at Dal’s SIM and the HIST7372 History of Archiving & Archival Records. This session is also co-hosted with Dr. Greg Bak, Associate Professor, Archival Studies M.A. Program, History Dept., University of Manitoba.

Abstract: It is no longer a secret or revelation in the wider archival community that western or colonial archives and records played a role in the colonization of Indigenous peoples around the globe. The process of reconciling this fact has been handled differently by archives in various regions, and for the most part has been a tentative and slow process in fear of not engaging the right way or making a misstep in connecting with the Indigenous communities and peoples represented in their holdings. In May of 2021, this tentativeness changed forever. When the 215 potential gravesites of children were identified by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc at the Kamloops Residential School site, the urgency for archives and records to build meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities was sent into overdrive. In the months that followed, dozens of communities began to research unmarked burial sites across Canada, requiring access to millions of government and church records held by countless repositories. This guest lecture will start by looking at how archival and records management theory and practice can help make connections based on a plural provenance model to assist in addressing inequalities in the arrangement, description, and access of archival materials and records related to Indigenous peoples. It will then discuss key areas where archives and records can play a role in assisting community-led research initiatives in terms of records management, stewarding community archives, capacity building, and including Indigenous perspectives into archival acquisition policies and mandates.

Biography: Jesse Boiteau is Head of Archives at the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation (NCTR) and is a member of the Métis Nation. He completed his Masters in Archival Studies at the University of Manitoba, focusing on the intersections between Western archival theory and practice, and Indigenous notions of archives and memory to shed light on how the NCTR can accommodate and blend multiple viewpoints in its processes. Jesse works within a close archives team to process the records collected by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission in Canada, make new collections available online, and respond to access requests from Residential School Survivors. He is also continually researching ways to leverage new technologies to honour the experiences and truths of Survivors through innovative and participatory archival practices.


*This open classroom series is inspired and shaped by the writings and practices of Rabab Abdulhadi, bell hooks, Eve Tuck, Sherene Razack and Sandy Grande.*

Contact: Dr. Jamila Ghaddar, Assistant Professor at Dalhousie’s School of Information Management at director@archiveslab.org.

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