Indigenous Archives and Record-keeping

The purpose of this page is to present a selection of resources to support Indigenous organizations, cultural memory-keepers, and Archivists who find themselves working with community records and to further the care, access, and preservation of heritage materials within Indigenous communities. Content will be updated as new best practices are shared and publications are made available on the topics below. Further resources on archival theory and best practices can be found as part of the AABC Archivist's Toolkit.


  • UNDRIP and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce
  • General Resources
  • Training Opportunities
  • Repatriation
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Protocol and Policy Development
  • Records Management
  • Description, Name Authorities and Subject Indexing
  • Privacy Legislation and Indigenous Records
  • Preservation of Indigenous Records
  • Software and Digital Heritage
  • Publications and Presentations

Recommendations for additions, revisions and corrections are encouraged and should be directed to the EAS Coordinator at

Content reviewed & website links verified: January 2021



UNDRIP and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission


United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (University of Manitoba) 

Association of Canadian Archivists Truth and Reconciliation

Steering Committee on Canada's Archives: Response to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce (TRC-TF)

Canadian Council of Archives


General Resources

First Peoples’ Cultural Council - 10 Recommendations for Supporting Indigenous Cultural Heritage

Library and Archives Canada Indigenous Documentary Heritage Initiatives                                            

Canadian Federation of Libraries Association Indigenous Resources 

Canadian Federation of Library Associations - Truth-and-Reconciliation-Committee-Report-and-Recommendations

First Nations in BC Knowledge Network – Information Management Resource Library

Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries & Museums

National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages


Training Opportunities

Sustainable Heritage Network

First Nations Public Service Secretariat: Management Training Academy: Records and Information Management

IKBLC – Indigitization Program

Archives Association of British Columbia (AABC)

BC Museums Association (BCMA)

BC Library Association (BCLA)

Canadian Museums Association (CMA)

Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA)

Association of Records Managers and Administrator (ARMA)



Royal BC Museum Repatriation Handbook (August 2018)


Funding Opportunities

New Relationship Trust

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Department of Canadian Heritage Museums Assistance Program (MAP) 

Canadian Heritage Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage

Library and Archives Canada “Listen, Hear Our Voices”

Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program

Government of Canada “Young Canada Works”

IKLBC “BC History Digitization Program”

First Peoples Cultural Council Language Grants, Arts Grants and Heritage Grants; Digitization grants 

Indigenous Services Canada “BC Capacity Initiative” (BCCI)

Canada Council for the Arts “Creating, Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples” 

Heritage BC "Heritage Legacy Fund"

Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Fellowships and Grants

Friends of BC Archives “Indigenous Research Fund” 


Protocol and Policy Development

First Nations Information Governance Centre

Protocols for Native American Archival Materials

Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Protocols for Libraries, Archives, and Information Services

UVic Libraries - Digital Ethics and Reconciliation in Libraries and Archives

Royal BC Museum Indigenous Collections Policy (August 2018)

Smithsonian Shared Stewardship Policy (July 2019)

First Nations of BC Knowledge Network


Records Management

First Nations Summit Information Management Toolkit for First Nations Government in BC

First Nations Public Service Secretariat Management Training Academy: Records and Information Management


Description, Name Authorities and Subject Indexing

Library and Archives Canada Guidelines for writing titles for descriptions of Indigenous-related archival materials

UBC X̱wi7x̱wa Library

Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) Resource Centre Classification Plan (July 2015)

University of Manitoba Indigenous Knowledge Management: Indigenous Subject Headings - AMA LCSH 

Red River College Indigenous Subject Headings Modification Project (Winnipeg, May 4, 2020)

National Indigenous Knowledge and Language Alliance (NIKLA)

Modifications to the Library of Congress Subject Headings for Use by Manitoba Archives (2016)

Greater Victoria Public Library Indigenous Subject Heading List (interim)


Privacy Legislation and Indigenous Records

The Impacts of Bill C-58 on First Nations’ Access to Information: A Discussion Paper Following the Review of Bill C-58 by the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs National Claims Research Directors and Union of BC Indian Chiefs (March 20, 2019)


Digitization and Preservation of Indigenous Records

UBC Indigitization Project

Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) Notes (Indigenous Materials N6/1 – N6/9)

First Peoples Cultural Council Digitization Grants


Software and Digital Heritage


Reciprocal Research Network

EcoTrust Canada Referrals Software: An Analysis of Options (2017)

Cedar Box (referrals/managing consultation, heritage, fieldwork, GIS, governance)

Community Knowledge Keeper (referrals/managing consultation, heritage, fieldwork, GIS. Also provides a comprehensive digital community archive for documents, photographs, audio, and video files)

Trailmark (referrals/managing consultation, heritage, fieldwork, GIS) 

FirstVoices (via First Peoples Cultural Council, focus on Indigenous language archiving)

Land Occupancy and Use Information System (LOUIS) Toolkit (data management for Indigenous communities, modules for Asset Management, Consultation, Indigenous Knowledge and Spatial Information)


Publications and Presentations

Simon Fraser University – Conference “Sorting Libraries Out: Decolonizing Classification and Indigenizing Description” (March 11–13, 2019) 

Kimberly Christen (2011). Opening Archives: Respectful Repatriation.The American Archivist: Spring/Summer 2011, Vol. 74, No. 1, pp. 185-210.

Museum Anthropology Review. Vol 7 No 1-2 (2013). After the Return: Digital Repatriation and the Circulation of Indigenous Knowledge

Mary S. Linn (2014). Living archives: A community based language archive model. In David Nathan & Peter K. Austin (eds) Language Documentation and Description, vol 12: Special Issue on Language Documentation and Archiving. London: SOAS. pp. 53-67. 

Kimberly L. Lawson. Precious Fragments: First Nations Materials in Archives, Libraries and Museums. Master's thesis, University of British Columbia, 2004.



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