Friday, 26 July 2013

Preserving the History of Aboriginal Institutional Development in Winnipeg

Indian & Métis Friendship Centre, Winnipeg

I had an opportunity to speak with researchers Darrell Chippaway and Larry Morrisette about their work cataloguing and preserving the history of Aboriginal organizations in Winnipeg. This is a SSHRC funded project combining the expertise of the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, Aboriginal Community Groups and organizations and various Elders. The researchers including Kathy Mallett, Evelyn Peters and John Loxley are attempting to gather the reports, records, meeting minutes, notes and photos from as far back as the 1960s Aboriginal institutions. Many of the principal Aboriginal organizations started in the 1960s, but because they have been attempting to build their programming they have not put resources to documenting their past. The Western Scientific empiric-historical method of writing about history often excludes histories that have not been written. This preservation of the archives of these organizations will show the development of Aboriginal agency within our great city.

We spent time discussing the history of the school of Children of the Earth, the Winnipeg Indian and the Métis Friendship Center (started in 1958 and run by a Board of non-Aboriginal peoples (Moonyas)). The ignoring of urban Aboriginal people by too many researchers (often searching for the last exotic tribe for the kernels of past truth) is being rectified by this collective of academics. 

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