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Truth and Reconciliation

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its final report in June 2015, along with 94 Calls to Action. These Calls provide direction on how the Government of Canada and the Canadian people can begin to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.” One such call speaks directly to the Canadian archival community:

70. We call upon the federal government to provide funding to the Canadian Association of Archivists to undertake, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, a national review of archival policies and best practices to:

  1. Determine the level of compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the United Nations Joinet-Orentlicher Principles (UNJOP) as related to Aboriginal peoples’ inalienable right to know the truth about what happened and why, with regard to human rights violations committed against them in the residential schools.
  2. Produce a report with recommendations for full implementation of these international mechanisms as a reconciliation framework for Canadian archives.

Responding to Call to Action 70

Steering Committee on Canada’s Archives

The Steering Committee on Canada’s Archives was established in 2016 to address several cross-cutting issues facing archives and records professionals today. The Steering Committee includes representation from the ACA, the Association des archivistes du Québec (AAQ), ARMA Canada, Canadian Council of Archives (CCA), Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists (CPTA), and Library and Archives Canada (LAC). The Secretariat resides with the Canadian Council of Archives and is chaired by Joanna Aiton-Kerr. 

For more information about the Steering Committee and the events that led to its founding, please visit

In 2016, the Steering Committee established the Response to the Report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce (TRC-TF). The TRC-TF is comprised of archivists and Indigenous Partners with a mandate to conduct a review of Indigenous community outreach policies and best practices in Canada, and to identify potential barriers to reconciliation efforts between the archival community and Indigenous recordkeepers and researchers. Upon completion of this review, the TRC-TF would work in collaboration with Indigenous communities to:

  1. to identify how Canada’s archives might move towards reconciliation through compliance with UNDRIP and UNJOP; 
  2. to produce recommendations for full implementation of the findings of this qualitative research; and 
  3. to design a reconciliation framework which actively engages and appropriately includes Indigenous recordkeepers and researchers, their perspectives and methodologies, with the Canadian archival system.

For more information and recent updates on the TRC-TF, visit

Carrying Forward the TRC-TF’s Work at the ACA

As work of the TRC-TF winds down, the ACA looks forward to continuing reconciliation initiatives and supporting our professional community to endorse and implement a reconciliation framework. The ACA is committed to:

  • Supporting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and affirming its commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples at home and abroad;
  • Ensuring that all ACA endorsed archival policies and best practices are aligned with the United Nations Joinet-Orentlicher Principles;
  • Supporting the development of protocols and principles to guide the responsible management of Indigenous archival resources;
  • Encouraging new archival scholarship and best practices that acknowledge Indigenous perspectives and worldviews; and
  • Actively working to include Indigenous recordkeepers and archivists in ACA programs and services.

In addition, ACA members are invited to join the Special Interest Section on Indigenous Archives.

Further Resources

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, which opened at the University of Manitoba in November 2015, is an archival repository home to the research, documents, and testimony collected during the course of the TRC's operation.

Visit the NCTR at

See also:

"The Right to Know," Cait O'Neil's blog on Archivists, UNDRIP and the TRC. July 1, 2015.

ICA's Expert Group on Indigenous Matters, International Council on Archives.

Government of Canada's Delivering on Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) TRC Web Archives.

Archives Association of Ontario. Towards Truth and Reconciliation.

Do you have a resource that you would like to see included here? Please contact us at

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