Welcome to Archive/Counterarchive

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation


In 2021, the federal government designated September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Archive/Counter-Archive network acknowledges the harm done and lasting impact of Canada’s policies on Indigenous peoples while recognizing the strength, resilience, and perseverance of Indigenous communities in the face of such oppression. We recognize the many discoveries of unmarked graves of children at residential schools across Canada, and we send our support to Indigenous members of the A/CA network and all those who are witnessing and mourning the discoveries with their communities.  

These discoveries have affirmed truths already known to communities, and we call on those truths to continue to be publicly affirmed. Moreover, these discoveries and the investigations that are in progress underline the importance of archives and the work of memory, both within communities and within the memory institutions in Canada charged with maintaining cultural records. We stand with members of Indigenous communities calling for the government to support the creation of statistical reports on residential school abuse claims, including those from churches, and to directly transfer records to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
The Archive/Counter-Archive network continues to stand with Indigenous leaders  to demand that the Roman Catholic church, along with other denominations who ran residential schools, follow up on promises to release and return their records.The destruction of records, and systematic refusal to share those still extant, sustains the devastating legacy of colonial violence against Indigenous communities. Preservation and access to residential school records and Survivor accounts will aid in truth, education, justice, and accountability. 

As a network, Archive/Counter-Archive is dedicated to doing the work to facilitate conversations and take action to support the decolonization of memory institutions. We look forward to the Indigenous Archive Gathering taking place on October 17 and 18 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. The Indigenous Archives Gathering will bring together Indigenous artists, film and media specialists, archivists, curators, Knowledge Keepers, Elders, memory workers and scholars from across Canada. By inaugurating this event, we aim to create a space for Indigenous individuals and groups who are doing the important memory work in collections to come together in conversation with each other.