The Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), issued in October 1996, identified a number of archival, records management, historical, and cultural issues which provide a collective challenge to the Canadian archival community. The move to establish a special interest section within the ACA has largely resulted from the recognition that Canadian archivists must contribute in their own unique way to the future of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
The main purpose of the SISAA is to provide members with a forum to discuss a wide range of archival issues relating to records created by or related to Aboriginal peoples. We want to build a foundation for a permanent membership and communications infrastructure within the Canadian archival community as a whole and among Aboriginal communities and organizations. The other goals of the SISAA are to serve as an interface between the community of Canadian archivists and Aboriginal communities and organizations and to form a base of expertise, advice, and support on archival issues that can be shared with Aboriginal communities and organizations.
If you have any kind of interest in Aboriginal Archives, we would like to strongly encourage you to join the SISAA (Special Interest Section on Aboriginal Archives) of the ACA. We have a listserv, many contacts with SISAA members and interaction with other ACA groups, and we meet at least once a year during the ACA Annual meeting. During our meetings, we try to meet with partners in Aboriginal heritage work and engage local Aboriginal heritage community. For example, last year in Fredericton, we received guests Phebe Noel and Patsy McKinney of the New Brunswick Aboriginal People's Council (NBAPC) and we were pleased to visit the Fredericton Native Friendship Centre, where Executive Director Tamara Polchies hosted a luncheon of moose stew and bannock. This year in Calgary we will visit the Blackfoot Gallery at the Glenbow Museum and meet with Aboriginal representatives.
We would like to invite archivists that work with Aboriginal issues but also, and maybe more specially, Aboriginal archivists, communities and organizations to get involved and informed on our discussions. Aboriginal communities and organizations that may have archival needs to preserve and promote their own archives will be interested to know that the SISAA created an Aboriginal Archives Guide, that is now available on line. It is hoped that this guide will serve to stimulate and contribute to the development of an archives and/or records management programs, as well as to provide advice and assistance on the preservation of Aboriginal records. Should you wish to obtain paper copies, they may be purchased through the ACA's website www.archivists.ca at a cost of $2.00 per copy plus postage.
The success of this group is depending of your active participation and sharing of ideas. If you want to take part of the SISAA, please contact us: (click on the name of the individual to send her/him an e-mail message)
Erica Hernandez-Read, SISAA Chair