Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has posted two Indigenous publications online: the Windspeaker, from Alberta (1986-2015 editions), and the Ha-Shilth-Sa, Canada’s oldest First Nations newspaper (1974-2017 editions). These digitized documents increase access to the rich Indigenous documentary heritage available to Canadians.
LAC carried out this project at the request of members of the steering committee of the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS), an initiative of Canada’s memory institutions to coordinate digitization activities across the country. LAC is a member of the NHDS and serves as its secretariat.
Thanks to generous funding from the Salamander Foundation in 2017, the NHDS launched a pilot project that included adding digitized indigenous newspapers to the national collection.
This digitization project by LAC is another example of LAC’s efforts to showcase Indigenous documentary heritage.
We are so pleased to have the back issues of Windspeaker, the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta’s flagship publication, preserved for all to browse at Library and Archives Canada. We truly appreciate the hard work done through the National Heritage Digitization Strategy pilot project to digitize 30-plus years of our publishing history. For us, it certainly demonstrates where we came from and how far we have come over the years. Windspeaker put the Indigenous perspective on a wide range of issues on the record, and those perspectives continue to be important and of interest today, particularly in this age of reconciliation. It was our purpose for publishing when we established Windspeaker, and it motivates our work as we continue today. We have heard from students, researchers and long-time readers who say they truly value the digitized back issues, as they provide access to a different world view—an Indigenous world view—that is unique in Canada today.
Bert Crowfoot, Windspeaker publisher
LAC - Aboriginal Heritage
New Indigenous Documentary Heritage Initiatives