- This 5-year Action Plan articulates Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC’s) commitment to Indigenous people and consists of 28 commitments under four categories: institutional change, engagement, collections management, and promotion/support. This was published and announced in April 2019.
- Developed in consultation with the LAC Indigenous Advisory Circle (IAC).
- The IAC is a committee of Indigenous professionals and experts from across Canada, representing diverse Indigenous communities and organizations.
- The IAC convenes every few months. It guides LAC on its major Indigenous digitization initiatives but also on broader Indigenous-related activities such as the development of the Action Plan.
- Incorporates feedback from a wide range of internal and external stakeholders.
- Shared with the three national Indigenous organizations: Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Métis National Council.
- Responds to and goes beyond the 2015 TRC Calls to Action, especially nos. 69 and 57.
- Implements key elements of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the UN Joinet-Orentlicher Principles (UNJOP). The plan specifically references the articles and principles to which they respond.
- Responds to a desire for transparent commitments that can be measured and reported.
- LAC has invited Indigenous communities to read the Action Plan and hold us to account. LAC can expect scrutiny in terms of progress and results.
- The Action Plan draft was distributed widely for comment within LAC and externally. LAC was not able to incorporate all suggestions. Some contributors may feel sensitive to this.
- The Action Plan has been received very positively among Government of Canada departments. LAC is seen as a leader in responding to the TRC Calls to Action in a way that goes beyond “checking boxes.”
- Indigenous communities have received the Action Plan positively.
- LAC has promised to produce and post a progress report (planning for biannual updates) coordinated by the Deputy Librarian and Archivist of Canada’s (DLAC’s) Office. The DLAC Office is currently coordinating the first report, which will be available by end of 2019–20 fiscal year.
- Example commitments:
- The implementation of an awareness and learning program for all LAC employees.
- The creation of engagement and protocol guidelines for all activities about or affecting Indigenous peoples.
- Consulting Indigenous communities for the design of the new LAC–OPL joint facility in Ottawa.
- The creation of a Visiting Elders program.
- The development of exhibitions and events related to Indigenous histories, including the legacy of residential schools.
Key public messages
- For reconciliation, words are important but actions are crucial. The LAC Indigenous Heritage Action Plan lays out concrete measures LAC will undertake to fulfill our commitment to Indigenous peoples.
- The records and publications in LAC’s collection related to First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation hold incredible value for Indigenous communities and all Canadians. They underscore the richness and diversity of Indigenous cultures and languages, provide evidence for land claims and litigation, and help individuals, families and communities retrace their experiences over the past four hundred years. The Indigenous Heritage Action Plan will put an emphasis on bringing these aspects of the collection to the forefront in a way that is appropriate, accurate and meaningful for Indigenous peoples.
- LAC developed the Indigenous Heritage Action Plan in collaboration with Indigenous peoples and for Indigenous peoples. While many of the commitments laid out in the Plan will benefit Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers alike, our focus was on supporting Indigenous efforts to connect and reconnect with their own histories.
Benjamin Ellis, Strategic Analyst, Public Services Branch