Indigenous Heritage Action Plan Implementation Progress Report

In April 2019, Library and Archives Canada (LAC), guided by the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, launched a plan that comprises 28 actions by LAC to recognize Indigenous rights and increase access to its collection. This action plan was developed in consultation with the members of the Indigenous Advisory Circle, who provide LAC with advice and guidance. In December 2019, LAC took stock of its progress and assessed how the institution had advanced with its commitments.

 

Progress markers – Legend

Empty progress bar indicating Stage 0 of 3

Not started: Action is a business priority, but has not started

 
Progress bar indicating Stage 1 of 3

In motion: Action is being developed, and some pieces have started to roll out

 
Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3

Ongoing: Action is well under way

 
Full progress bar indicating Stage 3 of 3

Completed: Action is finished

 

A. Institutional change

ActionAction plan itemUpdateProgress Marker
1 Training for employees
In line with the TRC Call to Action No. 57, we will facilitate distinction-based awareness and learning activities for LAC staff on the subjects of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation histories, intercultural relations, reconciliation, and Indigenous rights.
LAC created an Indigenous Awareness and Learning Program for staff and raised awareness by:
  • organizing eight KAIROS blanket exercises (90-minute experiential workshops developed in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers and educators that aim to foster understanding about shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples)
  • arranging six information sessions, given by:
    • Erin Suliak, Northwest Territories Archives
    • Karon Schmon, Gabriel Dumont Institute
    • Peter Di Gangi, Algonquin Nation Secretariat
    • Dr. Karine Duhamel, National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
    • Dr. Frank Tough, Native Studies Department, University of Alberta
    • Dr. Jean-Pierre Morin, Indigenous Services Canada / Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
  • promoting relevant Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) learning events
  • organizing webcasts with CSPS speakers

LAC created the Indigenous Matters Forum, where employees share information and knowledge about First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation histories, intercultural relations, reconciliation, and Indigenous rights.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
2 Senior management engagement
Senior management will lead by example, demonstrating a long-term commitment to reconciliation and the advancement of the Government of Canada's renewed approach to nation-to-nation relationships. LAC management will support its employees in their efforts to implement related initiatives and programs.
The Deputy Librarian and Archivist of Canada is the senior manager responsible for Indigenous initiatives at LAC. Responsibilities include:
  • seeking advice from Indigenous staff and ensuring they are included in decision-making
  • holding regular meetings with various Indigenous communities to learn their needs, expectations, and aspirations
  • sharing with LAC staff what he has learned through formal presentations and informal discussions with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities
  • encouraging employees and management to become involved with reconciliation
  • sharing information with national and international library and archival associations through presentations and chaired sessions on Indigenous documentary heritage

Two senior managers are responsible for two Indigenous projects:
The LAC Management Board made a public commitment to reconciliation by publishing this Indigenous Action Plan in April 2019.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
3 Indigenous awareness
We will devote specific human resources and install visual markers of Indigenous peoples at our institutions and dedicate training resources in order to raise employees' awareness of topics specific to First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, including an understanding of distinction-based protocols and land acknowledgements.
Two employees manage LAC’s internal Indigenous Awareness and Learning Program. An Indigenous person holds the newly created position of Advisor, Internal Indigenous Engagement. His role is to support staff work related to Indigenous matters.

LAC is developing these visual marker projects:
  • an Indigenous Art Program that will display work by Indigenous artists in and around the new Ottawa Public Library and LAC facility
  • a project to consider placing visual markers in other LAC buildings

In motion

Progress bar indicating Stage 1 of 3
4 Community engagement
We will ensure that those working with materials related to Indigenous experiences have community engagement as a formal work objective and we will add community engagement to our workflows and processes where appropriate.

This action item will be developed when the cultural guidelines have been researched and created (see action item 10).

Not started

Empty progress bar indicating Stage 0 of 3
5 Recruitment
We will hire First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation employees for major initiatives and projects related to Indigenous heritages, connecting LAC to Indigenous perspectives and communities. Where possible, Indigenous people will be included in hiring boards and selection processes.
A total of 14 Indigenous employees representing First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation have been hired in key roles:
  • seven archivists for the Listen, Hear Our Voices initiative (terms)
  • three archivists for the We Are Here, Sharing Stories initiative (terms)
  • one Indigenous Engagement Advisor for activities within LAC (indeterminate)
  • one Indigenous Engagement Advisor for activities outside LAC (term)
  • one Communications Advisor (term)
  • one archivist for the Indigenous Documentary Heritage Initiatives

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
6 Representative workforce
We will work toward building a representative workforce where Indigenous people account for a proportional number of employees and executives.
LAC is working on strategies to hire Indigenous people at all levels in order to achieve adequate representation.

As of December 2019, 36 LAC employees (3.6% of staff) self-identified as Indigenous. Currently, there are no Indigenous executives.

In motion

Progress bar indicating Stage 1 of 3
7 Guidance and teachings of Elders
We will seek the counsel of an Elder-in-Residence to help guide LAC in all of its work relating to Indigenous peoples.
LAC is creating a visiting Elder program for staff and researchers to benefit from the guidance and teachings of Elders from First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities. LAC will consult with members of the Algonquin Nation and national Indigenous organizations for advice on the program, which LAC hopes to launch in early 2020.

In motion

Progress bar indicating Stage 1 of 3
8 Programs for Indigenous youth
We will work with universities for the development of co-op/internship programs for Indigenous youth interested in pursuing careers in archives, libraries, museums, history, archaeology, information management or the public service.
LAC was approached by the Canadian Museum of History’s RBC Indigenous Internship program and will host an intern in 2020 to support the work of the Indigenous Portfolio, Private Archives, and gain experience in the field.

In motion

Progress bar indicating Stage 1 of 3
9 Consultations with Indigenous communities
We will consult with local Indigenous communities as we design our new service facility with the Ottawa Public Library in order to create a space where Indigenous clients feel included and comfortable. The functionality of the service spaces will be designed on the principles of decolonization.
LAC and its partners from the Ottawa Public Library and the City of Ottawa have consulted several times with these Indigenous communities:
  • the Algonquin communities close to Ottawa, including Kitigan Zibi and Pikwakinagan
  • the urban Indigenous communities in Ottawa

The project design team includes an Indigenous engagement specialist who seeks Indigenous input and active participation.

Discussions with Indigenous peoples helped with the design of the new building and the public activities that will be held at the new facility.

In motion

Progress bar indicating Stage 1 of 3

B. Engagement and collaboration

ActionAction plan itemUpdateProgress Marker
10 Engagement guidelines
We will research and develop distinction-based engagement guidelines so that LAC understands and follows cultural protocols and shows respect for the beliefs and practices of First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation with whom it engages, and from whom it seeks guidance and support.
LAC has selected leaders and created a working group composed wholly of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation staff. Discussions have started, and recommendations are being developed.

In motion

Progress bar indicating Stage 1 of 3
11 Dedicated human resources
We will devote specific human resources to coordinate LAC's engagement and outreach efforts with First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation.
LAC created and staffed an External Indigenous Engagement Advisor position in 2017. So far, this person has coordinated the Indigenous Advisory Council; met with the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Métis National Council; consulted with Indigenous communities on the Ottawa Public Library and LAC joint facility project; coordinated LAC visits of Carleton University Indigenous students and Barrière Lake Algonquins; and presented at various Indigenous conferences.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
12 Partnerships with communities
We will work with Indigenous-led institutions across Canada to enable greater access to the documentary heritage material that matters to them. This includes new partnerships and collaborations with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities, archives, libraries, museums, as well as agreements with universities and other educational institutions. We will also loan valued documents to Indigenous communities and organizations for exhibitions and related events.
LAC is strengthening ties with more Indigenous groups, governments, institutions and experts.

LAC has focused on Indigenous libraries and the Toronto-Dominion (TD) Summer Reading Club (TD SRC). Since 2015, LAC has included an Indigenous librarian on the TD SRC National Creative Committee to increase Indigenous input into the program. In 2019, the Club officially launched the program at Montreal Lake First Nation.

LAC attended the First Nations Spring Gathering of Indigenous libraries hosted by the Ontario Library Service – North in 2019. In November 2019, TD SRC staff will be attending the National Gathering for Indigenous Education, hosting a booth along with the Toronto Public Library to promote the TD SRC.

LAC will increase loans of original documents to Indigenous communities, groups, and cultural institutions to display at their exhibitions and events. In March 2020, LAC will display five original treaty documents at the Symposium on Repatriation being offered by Dokis First Nation and Nipissing University as part of Treaty Recognition Week.

When original treaties will be displayed at traditional museums, LAC asks them to involve the groups who signed the treaty. Museum Strathroy-Caradoc is borrowing Treaty 21 for Treaty Recognition week in November. This museum will reach out to the three closest First Nations: Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Munsee-Delaware Nation, and Oneida Nation of the Thames.

LAC will develop a strategy to ensure that Indigenous loans are prioritized and facilitated.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
13 Enhanced crowdsourcing tools and platforms
We will use enhanced crowdsourcing tools and platforms to enable Indigenous peoples to contribute their knowledge directly to the enhancement and contextualization of digital collections. This includes description, transcription, factual corrections and translation.
Indigenous-related content has been a key focus of LAC’s crowdsourcing projects since the launch of Co-Lab in April 2018. More content is being added so that First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation have the chance to more accurately tell their own histories through their contributions.

In November, LAC launched a Co-Lab challenge about First World War soldiers from First Nations returning to their communities. In December, LAC launched a Co-Lab challenge using George Mully’s photos of First Nations and Inuit communities across Canada. The descriptions of these photographs are missing the names of peoples and places. So, LAC hopes that clients will provide more details.

Co-Lab exists as a tool to describe, transcribe, tag, or translate any of LAC’s digital collections, either through the “challenges” or by adding to any record in the archival catalogue. Adding Indigenous knowledge and perspectives to records enables future researchers to easily find and understand historical material.

In 2020, LAC will launch a social media campaign to encourage people to review the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples photo collection as a crowdsourcing initiative. The goal will be to name the people in the photos. A blog will accompany this social media campaign.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
14 Forums for engagement with specialized users
We will create forums for engagement with specialized users including educators, land claims and legal researchers, cultural centres and associations and others to ensure that the collections they need are available and easily accessible.
LAC continues to engage with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities on improving services and making collection items easier to find.

LAC’s BC Indigenous Research Forum continues to consult with Indigenous communities and groups researching claims in British Columbia. In 2020, new members will be added to the Forum from other regions of the province.

LAC’s Services Advisory Committee gathers feedback from specialized users, including Indigenous researchers, on the ease of finding material in the collections. The committee met most recently in May 2019.

LAC continues to develop and offer workshops and presentations explaining services and tools for searching Indigenous documentary heritage in LAC’s collection. These sessions are given across Canada, and can be requested as needed. Presentations have been given to Indigenous claims researchers as well as to LAC staff on Indigenous Reference Services.

LAC is planning more presentations at events and conferences, and more onsite visits to Indigenous communities.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3

C. Managing records in the LAC collection related to First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation

ActionAction plan itemUpdateProgress Marker
15 Access to information and Privacy
We will apply the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act in a way that maximizes access while protecting sensitive and personal information. Further, we will continue to improve and simplify the request for access to information process to add transparency, decrease delays and reduce the administrative burden for clients.
LAC continues to handle requests for sensitive material allowed by the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. LAC is working on the requests as quickly as possible given the large amount of work for limited numbers of staff.

LAC is also exploring the parameters of the access process around 8(2) k of the Privacy Act to make the process more efficient by reducing administrative burden for researchers.

Since April 2019, LAC has received 41 requests for information related to Indigenous claims. Of those requests, 33 have been handled, and the rest are under way.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
16 Residential school information
In collaboration with the NCTR, we will provide access to all known residential school information held in the LAC collection while protecting personal information. Furthermore, we will improve the ability to discover and access residential school information.
Since 2016, LAC and the NCTR have digitized and shared the Truth and Reconciliation Commission records, ensuring that both institutions preserve and provide access to its legacy. In addition, LAC has shared related digital records and indexes with the NCTR and the Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (RSHDC) at the University of British Columbia. These records include the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples database containing thousands of pages of public hearing transcripts, research reports, and submissions.

LAC has also digitized and shared audiovisual recordings of the Commission proceedings with the NCTR and the RSHDC.

LAC will continue to share digital records related to residential schools with these and other memory and cultural institutions, while continuing to protect personal and sensitive information.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
17 Terminology
We will adapt the words we use to describe LAC collections related to First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation to enhance access and to ensure a culturally appropriate and respectful approach.
Descriptions of Indigenous books: LAC has developed lists of potential changes and additions to the Canadian Subject Headings. LAC is still consulting with Indigenous librarians and subject specialists.

Descriptions of Indigenous archival material: LAC has developed and shared Procedures for Writing Culturally Sensitive Titles for Descriptions of Indigenous Materials, to deal with offensive terms found in the descriptions in LAC’s collection. LAC is also developing a message to notify users of LAC’s collection search tool that there is outdated or offensive language in the descriptions.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
18 Access to documentary evidence
We will continue to facilitate access to documentary evidence for legal processes (e.g., land claims) and quasi-legal processes (e.g., commissions, inquiries) in a way that is balanced and responsive.
LAC continues to help researchers find documents through its channels of communications: web, phone, email, Skype, and in person, and from Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Halifax. Since April 1, 2019, dedicated experts in the National Capital Region have answered 402 written Indigenous-related questions, about 14% of all written requests received. About 20% of all appointments with archivists are related to Indigenous documentary heritage.

Since April 1, 2019, staff in LAC’s Vancouver and Winnipeg offices have responded to 555 Indigenous-related questions (90% of all questions), hosted 181 visits to consult records, and copied 29,700 pages.

Since May 2019, LAC has helped users find the digital records they needed for the Federal Indian Day School Class Action, and is creating an information page about finding these records. LAC is considering writing procedures on how to collaborate internally and externally.

Three other InfoPages will soon be created about Indian Affairs records, the Indigenous Published Reference Collection, and the Indigenous Published Genealogy Collection.

LAC regularly updates the webpage on Indigenous genealogy. A blog post on enfranchisement of First Nations peoples was published in April 2019.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
19 Reference services and service spaces
We will establish a plan and implement changes to our reference services and service spaces to be more responsive to the needs individually and collectively expressed by First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation. We will do so in consultation with the Indigenous Advisory Circle and Indigenous researchers at LAC.
LAC continues to listen to individuals and communities in order to improve services.

Some of the LAC reference team answer questions about Indigenous matters. They create solutions by consulting with clients, stakeholders, and other LAC staff.

Reference Services staff are improving their awareness and knowledge. They attended these lectures in 2019:
  • Conversation with an Indigenous Claims Researcher (April 23)
  • Meet Indigenous Colleagues at LAC (May 24)
  • Métis Scrip Records (May 28)
  • Researching Métis Family History (June 17)
  • Indigenous Vocabulary and Client Interaction (July 2)
Staff at LAC also welcomed colleagues from Parks Canada to discuss access to records related to residential schools for commemoration (July 12).

LAC Vancouver staff have been working with the Vancouver Public Library, Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement, and other community groups to develop an Indigenous genealogy program. The program will integrate elements of Indigenous cultural practices and help individuals with their ancestry research.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
20 Sharing archival records and research results
We will share LAC archival records and research results with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities and organizations. We will also examine Indigenous-led access management of some LAC collections that relate to specific peoples or communities, and of records created from Indigenous knowledge.
We will share LAC archival records and research results with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities and organizations. We will also examine Indigenous-led access management of some LAC collections that relate to specific peoples or communities, and of records created from Indigenous knowledge.

In motion

Progress bar indicating Stage 1 of 3
21 Enhanced access to digitized collections
As part of LAC's new We Are Here, Sharing Stories initiative, we will digitize collections related to Indigenous cultures and languages, create user-friendly finding aids, and develop online content in order to highlight these documents and enhance access to them.
As of December 2019, the We Are Here: Sharing Stories program had digitized over 504,586 images, documents and maps in the LAC collection, including the following:
  • Métis scrip and related documents from the Department of the Interior
  • photos from the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in the 1990s
  • photos from the former Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
  • maps such as the “Indian Land Sales Maps” showing reserve lands across Canada, and Métis River lot maps from western Canada
Digitized material is easier to find with updated archival descriptions, including culturally relevant and accurate metadata.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
22 Building archival and library capacity
LAC will assist in building archival and library capacity in First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities and will also provide preservation storage to communities who do not yet have such capacity, without transferring ownership to LAC. We will also collaborate with First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation to ensure that non-governmental archival records from their communities are preserved according to their preferences, whether at LAC or locally.
Work began in December 2019. LAC is updating its Analog Collection Storage Strategy to include dedicated spaces within its portfolio for Indigenous material on deposit at LAC. In order to follow the principles of self-determination and co-development, further consultation and discussions with Indigenous communities will be required to assess such things as:
  • Types of storage space required
  • Expected level of use by Indigenous communities
  • Identification and resolution of barriers to trust in the deposit program
  • Joint drafting with Indigenous communities of a template transfer agreement, clearly defining such terms as “care,” “custody,” “ownership,” the access mechanisms, etc.

In motion

Progress bar indicating Stage 1 of 3
23 Handling and caring for sensitive material
LAC will prioritize the preferences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities when handling and caring for sensitive material created by or about their respective communities.
LAC is working with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) to organize records that ITK have identified as being of value for Inuit in order to maximize Inuit access, ownership, and control over these records. LAC will also follow the National Inuit Strategy on Research and the associated Implementation Plan.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3

D. Promotion and support

ActionAction plan itemUpdateProgress Marker
24 Indigenous heritage collections
We will promote Indigenous heritage collections through online content and social media, with a special focus on First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation audiences.
In 2019, LAC published 18 blogs on resources related to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation heritage. Indigenous staff at LAC wrote 11 of the blogs.

LAC also released four Flickr albums in 2019 on Indigenous content (Judith Pauline White, Pipes, George Mully, Tom Longboat). A podcast on Tom Longboat was also published. Two Co-Lab crowdsourcing challenges using resources related to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation heritage were launched in 2019. LAC is creating an enhanced e-book written entirely by Indigenous staff.

LAC created the Indigenous documentary heritage initiatives, and used Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to:
  • provide updates on the digitization of Indigenous material
  • promote the digitization services and funding program that LAC offers to Indigenous communities across Canada

Through Project Naming, LAC posts photos weekly on social media. First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities may identify people and places so that LAC can update the records. Readers may leave comments and share stories with LAC and each other.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
25 Contribution funding
We will provide financial support to Indigenous-led organizations for potential archival and library projects related to Indigenous heritage and histories.
LAC provides up to $100,000 to Indigenous groups to digitize their cultural and language recordings as part of the Listen, Hear Our Voices program. The first call for funding closed in mid-July, and LAC received 88 proposals. Applications were reviewed by an external Indigenous Review Committee made up of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation representatives from across Canada. In 2019/2020, LAC is funding 31 organizations for a total of $2.3M.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
26 Listen, Hear Our Voices
We will partner with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities and organizations to support their efforts to preserve and digitize their culture and language recordings, as part of LAC's new Listen, Hear Our Voices initiative.
Listen, Hear Our Voices has begun work to digitize and preserve recordings from five Indigenous organizations and individuals to help safeguard and make more accessible their culture and language recordings. We are in discussion with many more interested applicants.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
27 Events
We will facilitate events developed with Indigenous perspectives to promote knowledge and understanding of the histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities, as well as of the role of archives and libraries in reconciliation.
Since 2017, LAC has co-hosted five Indigenous writers’ gatherings as part of the ongoing #IndigenousReads campaign with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. These events help Indigenous authors share their views and voices. In November 2018, LAC co-hosted the Indigenous Knowledge and Access Symposium with Dalhousie University to discuss documenting Indigenous knowledge and making it easier to find.

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
28 Exhibitions
We will create and co-create exhibitions dedicated to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation histories, to be hosted at LAC or at partner institutions.
LAC’s successful exhibition, Hiding in Plain Sight: Discovering the Métis Nation in the Collection of Library and Archives Canada, continues to tour the country. The 32 panels of copies of artwork and photos explore the portrayal of Métis Nation people in LAC’s collection.

The exhibition has been shown at:
  • Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village, Pincher Creek, Alberta (April 6 to June 9, 2019)
  • Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg, Manitoba (June 21 to October 27, 2019)

The exhibition is planned for:
  • Jasper-Yellowhead Museum, Jasper, Alberta (January 10 to May 3, 2020)
  • Western Development Museum, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (dates to be determined)

Ongoing

Progress bar indicating Stage 2 of 3
Date modified: