Owning History: Indigenous Histories and Records Access A Conference in Winnipeg, April 26, 2024

Call for Abstract Proposals

Many people whose work or lives intersect with Indigenous histories in Canada are familiar with the long-standing issues surrounding accessing archival records for their research. Recently, the Office of the Independent Special Interlocutor for Missing Children and Unmarked Graves and Burial Sites associated with Indian Residential Schools (OSI) has highlighted issues stemming from access to and the destruction of records relating to Indigenous people in Canada as major challenges facing those trying to locate children who are missing from or died while enrolled at a Residential School.

Histories of Indigenous health, policing, and incarceration are deeply connected with Residential Schools and researchers face significant hurdles in both accessing records and in sharing the information they have found. There exists a deep tension within this work of respecting the privacy of individuals while also laying bare the history of the genocide of Indigenous peoples in Canada and ensuring that families and communities who are trying to locate missing loved ones can do so.

We want to explore this topic with academic and professional researchers who are navigating access to historical records to engage with Indigenous histories in a one-day conference this spring. Topics this conference will cover may include:

  • Navigating privacy laws and archival restrictions
  • Creative approaches to interpreting limited accessible records
  • Imagining respectful access processes
  • The destruction of or refusal to disclose records related to Indigenous histories in Canada
  • Accessing historical vital statistics, police, and court records, medical records, or other sensitive information relating to Indigenous individuals and communities
  • The relationship between records access policies and settler amnesty

Those interested in presenting can submit a presentation title, an abstract (max 250 words), and a brief bio (max 250 words) to k.boschmann-ra@uwinnipeg.ca by January 19, 2024.

View more details in the downloadable Call for Papers poster.