Canadian-American Archives ConferenceIndigenous Issues in the Archive: Representation and Reconciliation

Canadian-American Archives Conference 2019

Section of a rustic looking, beige map centered on the border between the USA and Canada


Date: Friday, March 8, 2019

Location: Viking Union (VU) 565
Western Washington University Campus, Bellingham, WA

Time: 10:00AM - 4:00PM, doors open for registration and coffee social at 9:00 AM

Cost: Free for Western Students, $15 for Non-Western Students, $25 for Non-Students Fee includes coffee social and lunch. Late registration will be available at the event. Parking information and directions are available. Parking in 6V (Zone 1206), located closest to the Viking Union (VU), is limited. The C lots are also available. Additional details and directions are available in WWU's campus parking map.

Indigenous Issues in the Archive: Representation and Reconciliation

Western Washington University prides itself on its outstanding Archives and Records Management graduate program as well as its unique Center for Canadian-American Studies program. Given the importance of cross-border relations and the unique insights archivists from both countries have to offer, a joint conference was developed in 2014 to showcase important and emerging thoughts within the archival profession and bolster international cooperation.


This year's conference theme is Indigenous Issues in the Archive: Representation and Reconciliation. Western Washington University is located on the traditional Coast Salish territory that is the ancestral homeland of today's Lummi Nation as well as the Nooksack, Upper Skagit, and Samish Tribes. It is an unfortunate legacy in the archival profession that Indigenous peoples and their histories have been overlooked, mishandled, and suppressed.


Western's Society of American Archivists Student Chapter seeks to address these silences of the past through our conference by promoting the voices of Indigenous archival professionals from Canada and the United States. The long-awaited approval of the Native American Protocols by the Society of American Archivists last year is an encouraging step in the effort to reconcile these past injustices but it is, by no means, the final step.

Speakers include:

Juanita Jefferson - "Saving Lummi History"

Juanita Jefferson is a Lummi elder and grandmother born in Bellingham, Washington. She grew up in Seattle but moved home to raise her sons at Lummi in 1969. She graduated from WWU's Fairhaven College in 1984 and then completed most of the requirements for a Masters degree. She worked for Lummi Nation for 40 years, the last ten with the Lummi Records & Archives Department. While there, she attended several Archives & Records Management classes at WWU. She retired in 2006 and has continued community action work and most enjoys her grandchildren!

Abstract: Traditional history according to Lummi teachings is a revered gift. Cultural genocide affects Lummi history by banning out language and removing children from families. Preserving and protecting Lummi history is a goal for our children's education. The Lummi Archives is vital in preserving this opportunity for knowledge and education.

Camille Callison - "Breathing Life into Archives by Honoring Indigenous Voices and Protocols"

Camille Callison, member of the Tahltan Nation in Northern BC, is the Learning & Organizational Development Librarian and PhD student (Anthropology) at the University of Manitoba. Camille is Past Chair of the Indigenous Matters Committee, a Copyright Committee member, chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Committee and was on the founding board of the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA-FCAB). Camille is an Indigenous Partner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce and a member of IFLA Indigenous Matters Section Standing Committee, National Film Board Indigenous Advisory Group and Canadian Commission for UNESCO Memory of the World Committee and Sector Commission on Culture, Communications & Information.

Abstract: Laying the groundwork for change and creating a space for knowledge to be preserved and shared in its unbiased entirety is crucial for moving forward toward reconciliation. Substantive movement needs to be realized as it related to Indigenous people and Indigenous knowledge being held in mainstream archives, libraries and cultural memory institutions. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report has prompted and provided the catalyst for change by acknowledging the systems of oppression that created and continued the Indian Residential School System in Canada for over 150 years. The TRC Calls to Action followed, which ignited the conversation on how to decolonize our mainstream cultural memory instructions by addressing embedding structural barriers and systems of oppression that perpetuate power inequities and reinforce problematic descriptions of historical events and reinforce racial stereotypes. How can we embed the appropriate protocols in our praxis with Indigenous communities to ensure that Indigenous voices, knowledge and histories are portrayed accurately and relationships honored?

Jennifer R. O'Neal - "From Time Immemorial: Centering Indigenous Knowledge and Ways of Knowing In the Archival Paradigm"

Jennifer R. O'Neal (The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde) is a professional historian and archivist, who has led the development and implementation of best practices, frameworks, and protocols for Native American archives in non-tribal repositories in the United States. Her research and teaching are dedicated to centering indigenous traditional knowledge, decolonizing methodologies, applying indigenous research methods, and implementing place-based education. She specializes in Native American history, political activism and social movements, with an emphasis on the intersections between sovereignty, self-determination, cultural heritage and global indigenous rights. Jennifer advocates for centering indigenous priorities, perspectives, and knowledges into education, history, and archives. She currently serves as the University Historian and Archivist at the University of Oregon, and affiliated faculty with the Native Studies, Robert D. Clark Honors College, and the History Department. She previously served as the Head Archivist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Abstract: This talk will examine the traditional Indigenous knowledge systems that are at the center of Native American lifeways and culture. I argue that it is imperative that these traditional knowledge systems must be the foundation for the overall care and management of Indigenous archives in non-tribal repositories. Further, I show that applying a decolonizing Indigenous research methodology into the archival paradigm will ensure that Indigenous ways of knowing will be centered in the stewardship of collections. Examples of how this work can and should be implemented in repositories as well as in curriculum are presented to show specific examples and as a call to action.

Richard Pearce-Moses - "Ceci n'est pas une pipe: Learning to Appreciate Different Cultural Perspectives"

Richard Pearce-Moses retired in 2015 after working more than thirty years as a practicing archivist. He founded the Master of Archival Studies Program at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia. Previously, he was Deputy Director for Technology and Information Resources at the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records in Phoenix, Arizona. He has also worked as an archivist at the Heard Museum, Arizona State University Libraries, the Texas State Library and Archives, and the Texas Historical Foundation, and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. He served as President of the Society of American Archivists, and is a Fellow of the Society and a Certified Archivist. For the past fifteen years, he has focused on the problems of digital records. In 2008, the Library of Congress named him a Digital Preservation Pioneer, and in 2007 he received the Kilgour Award for Research in Library and Information Technology. Pearce-Moses remains an active participant in the InterPARES Trust project, exploring shifting concepts underlying archives in the digital era. Pearce-Moses' work at the Heard Museum, which focuses on Native American cultures, provided him the opportunity to meet with representatives of several tribes and learn about their perspectives on artifacts and records held in museums and archives. When President of the Society of American Archivists, he was invited to participate in the group that established the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials. He spoke about that process at the Society's annual conference and supported efforts that led to the formation of the Society's Native American Archives Roundtable.

Abstract: In my career, I've had the opportunity to work with Native American collections and to participate in the development of the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials. By sharing some of my experiences, I hope to give some insights for how respecting different cultural values is essential to archival best practice.

Randall C. Jimerson - Closing Remarks

Randall C. Jimerson is a professor of History and Director of the Graduate Program in Archives and Records Management at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. He is a Fellow and past President of the Society of American Archivists. He also served as president of New England Archivists, which presented him the Distinguished Service Award in 1994. He is author of Archives Power: Memory, Accountability, and Social Justice (Society of American Archivists, 2009), Shattered Glass in Birmingham: My Family's Fight for Civil Rights, 1961-1964 (LSU Press, 2014), and The Private Civil War: Popular Thought During the Sectional Conflict (LSU Press, 1988); and editor of American Archival Studies: Readings in Theory and Practice (SAA, 2000). He received the Ph.D. in American History at the University of Michigan, and for 18 years worked as an archivist at Michigan, Yale University, and the University of Connecticut, before assuming his current position in 1994.

Abstract: Archival theory emerged in 19th century Western Europe, and remains rooted in a bureaucratic mindset that privileges cultural values derived from white hegemony, imperialism, patriarchy, and textual recordkeeping. Indigenous values, culture, and traditions challenge these Western concepts and require a reconceptualiziation of archival theory and practices. The archival profession must respond to these voices and perspectives, opening to what Nelson Mandela termed "the call of justice."

Conference Schedule

9:30am - Doors open for coffee social and registration
Coffee and muffins provided by the Center for Canadian-American Studies

10:00am - Welcome and Conference Introduction
Derek Corder, Coordinator, Western Washington University Student Chapter, Society of American Archivists

10:10am - Juanita Jefferson, "Saving Lummi History"

11:10am - Camille Callison, "Breathing Life into Archives by Honouring Indigenous Voices and Protocols"

12:10am - Break for Lunch
Lunch provided by the Center for Canadian-American Studies

12:45pm - Richard Pearce-Moses, "C'est ce ne pas un pipe: Learning to Appreciate Different Cultural Perspectives"

1:45pm - Jennifer O'Neal, "From Time Immemorial: Centering Indigenous Knowledge and Ways of Knowing in the Archival Paradigm"

2:45pm - Roundtable Discussions

3:25pm - Closing Remarks given by Randall Jimerson

4:00pm - End of Conference

Thank you to our WWU sponsors:

The WWU Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists, Canadian-American Studies, Department of History, Office of the Provost, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and Western Libraries.

If you have any questions, please contact: Derek Corder: