What is it about?

The University of Manitoba Archives changed how it handles records and publications by or about Indigenous people in Canada to include community consultation where possible. This led us to employ community consultation to handle anthropologists' records on Indigenous peoples, develop appropriate subject headings, create a new stewardship agreement, and employ Indigenous students to process Indigenous records. These same changes in processes can likely be used in handling the records of any minority. And we can apply these learned principles in dealing with students, faculty, and staff. In essence we are employing the contributions of citizen archivists to create a better archival record.

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Why is it important?

Archivists are only beginning to see how to effect social justice through meaningful input from others outside of the archives, and how to translate that input into daily activities. This article provides practical examples that have been tried and tested and some of the lessons we have learned.


I want readers to understand that learning from others and accepting change is both liberating and ultimately necessary for moving archives forward in society. I was humbled by the lessons I learned working with Indigenous people to help create the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

Dr. Shelley Sweeney
University of Manitoba

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This page is a summary of: Academic archivists as agents for change, Comma, January 2020, Liverpool University Press, DOI: 10.3828/comma.2018.6.
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