Earlier this month, in collaboration with imagineNATIVE, we had the pleasure and privilege of co-hosting the Indigenous Archives Gathering. This groundbreaking symposium was intended to foster exciting conversations between a collection of Indigenous archivists, scholars, activists, and artists, and it was a fantastic success! As this event has been roughly three years in the making, we would like to share some photos and a brief recap, as well as to sincerely thank all of the speakers, participating artists, volunteers, and attendees. And for all of you who presented, we will be in touch soon about a publication based on the symposium that we are hoping to support throughout the next year with Concordia University Press.
Day One Recap
First, we opened the Gathering with a warm and thoughtful welcome from Elder Pauline Shirt, who performed a smudging ceremony for all in attendance and eloquently spoke about the importance of personal, family, and community archives.
Next, Steering Committee member Linda Grussani presented opening remarks, and then Stacy Allison-Cassin, the Gathering’s MC, introduced Sherry Farrell-Racette and Marjorie Beaucage, who delivered a stunning opening keynote presentation on daily archiving practices, prompting the audience to critically reflect on their own personal archives and what may happen to them in the future.
In the afternoon, we had our next session, where Stacy Allison-Cassin moderated a wonderful conversation between Kayla Lar-Son, Jennifer Smith, Jessica Kotierk, and Roger Lewis, where they each spoke about their experiences with various institutional archives.
The Echoes and (Re)Traces: Screening Land and Cultural Knowledge film screening closed off the first day at TIFF. Following the screening, the four participating filmmakers—Luke Parnell, Jennifer Dysart, Adrian Kahgee, and Caroline Monnet—joined David Garneau on stage for a panel discussion on their work and how they each utilized archival material within their practices.
After the screening, many of us walked over to Vtape for the opening reception of Steering Committee member Lisa Myers's exhibition, Press the Record Button: Considering the Archives of Mike MacDonald. This wonderful exhibition considers the video and material archive of the late Mi’kmaw artist Mike MacDonald to address broader questions about artists’ archives. The reception had a wonderful array of delicious food and drinks that were made possible through the generous support of Vtape and the York University Cinema and Media Arts Department.
Day Two Recap
The second day of the Gathering began with two Indigenous-only workshops that were led by Jennifer Smith and Kayla Lar-Son. These workshops were closed, so there are no publicly available photos but there was a very high volume and variety of registrants which resulted in a productive and energetic set of discussions.
After the workshops and a delicious lunch catered by Pow Wow Café, the Gathering concluded with Suzanne Morrissette and Krista Ulujuk Zawadski’s excellent keynote, where they spoke on various ways that they had worked to activate archives within their careers and daily lives.
Finally, we also want to share a couple of photos of celebratory snacks that some of the speakers, attendees, and A/CA team enjoyed after the closing keynote across the street from TIFF at Kinoya Sushi. Pictured from left to right in the first picture below: Lisa Myers, Jennifer LeBlanc, Jeanine LeBlanc, Kayla Lar-Son, Emily Collins, JP Marchant, Monica Kin Gagnon, Janine Marchessault, Stacy Allison-Cassin, Aimée Mitchell, Antoine Damiens, and Marjorie Beaucage. It was such a nice way to end things and celebrate the Gathering’s success.
And that’s it! Thanks again to everyone who was able to attend the Indigenous Archives Gathering. It was better than we could have hoped!
The A/CA Project Team