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Perpetual Undone-ness? : Conjuring the IRSHDC information system into existence Shaffer, Elizabeth; Mills, Allison; King, Sarah 2017

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“At the start one’s intuition is likely tobewrong, informed bywhat is, but not bywhat is tobe conjured intoexistence.” – Jones, 1984  Perpetual Undone-ness?Conjuring the IRSHDC information system intoexistenceElizabeth	Shaffer,	Allison	Mills,	Sarah	King	(	|	|	Indian	Residential	School	History	and	Dialogue	Centre	|	School	of	Library,	Archival	and	Information	Studies	Between	1883	and	1996,	the	Government	of	Canada,	in	collaboration	with	numerous	Christian	organizations,	established	and	operated	the	Indian	Residential	School	System.	An estimated	150,000	First	Nations,	Métis,	and	Inuit	children	attended	residential	schools,	removing	them	from	their	families,	homes,	languages,	and	lands.	The	schools	were	part	of	a	systemic,	multi-pronged	effort	to	address	“the	Indian	Problem.”	Discipline	was	harsh	and	the	remote	location	and	lack	of	supervision	at	the	schools	meant	that	students	were	subject	to	neglect	and	abuse.	Buildings	were	poorly	constructed	and	maintained	and	illness	was	rampant.	Death	rates	of	students	were	much	higher	than	the	national	average,	a	fact	that	was	reported	as	early	as	1907	(Milloy,	1999).	The	schools	were	part	of	Canada’s	official	Indigenous	policy,	one	that	aimed	to	“eliminate	Aboriginal	governments;	ignore	Aboriginal	rights;	terminate	the	Treaties;	and,	through	a	process	of	assimilation,	cause	Aboriginal	peoples	to	cease	to	exist”	(TRC,	2015).	IndianResidentialSchools1. Duarte,	M.	E.,	&	Belarde-Lewis,	M.	(2015).	Imagining:	Creating	spaces	for	Indigenous	ontologies. Cataloging	&	Classification	 Quarterly,	53(5-6),	 681.2. Hanson,	 E.	(n.d.)	The	residential	school	 system.	Indigenous	 foundations.	University	 of	British	Columbia.	 Accessed	March	1,	2017.	Retrieved	from Jones,	 J.	C.	(1984).	Essays	 in	design.	New	York,	NY:	John	Wiley	&	Sons.4. Milloy,	 J.	(1999).	A	national	crime:	The	Canadian	 government	and	the	residential	school	 system,	1879	to	1986.	Winnipeg:	University	of	Manitoba	Press.5. National	Centre	for	Truth	and	Reconciliation.	(n.d.).	Our	mandate.	Accessed	February	28,	2017.	Retrieved	from	6. Truth	and	Reconciliation	Commission.	 (n.d.)	Backgrounder.	Truth	and	Reconciliation	Commission	 of	Canada.7. ---.	(2015).	Honouring	the	truth,	reconciliation	the	future:	Summary	of	the	final	 report	of	the	Truth	and	Reconciliation	Commission	 of	Canada.	Truth	and	Reconciliation	Commission	 of	Canada.	8. Nathan,	L.	P.,	Shaffer,	E.	&	Castor,	M.	(2015)	Stewarding	Collections	 of	Trauma:	Plurality,	Responsibility,	 and	Questions	 of	Action.	Archivaria,	80(Fall),	89-118.ReferencesIn	2006,	Survivor	groups	leveraged	class	action	suits,	forcing	the	federal	government	and	religious	organizations	to	address	decades	of	silence	and	denial	by	negotiating	a	settlement	agreement.	As	a	direct	result	of	Schedule	N	of	the	Indian	Residential	Schools	Settlement	Agreement,	a	Truth	and	Reconciliation	Commission	(TRC)	was	created	to	investigate	and	address	select	portions	of	Canada’s	Indian	residential	school	history.	The	TRC	operated	from	2009-2015,	travelling	across	the	country	to	hear	from	Survivors	and	gather	witness	statements	and	documentation,	culminating	in	a	final	report.	Schedule	N	also	stipulated	the	creation	of	a	centre	to	preserve	and	make	accessible	material	generated	and	collected	by	the	TRC	(TRC,	2015).The TruthandReconciliationCommission“[Settler] colonialism [...] ismarkedbygenerationsofsubjugation such that theprofiting social groupbeginstobuild all social structuresand institutions aroundthemselves to support thebelief in their superiority aswell as theirmeansof exploitative andviolent profit-making.”- Duarte& Belarde-Lewis,2015Top	(Right	to	left):	(1991,	original	ca.	1940.)	Students	at	St.	Michael’s	Residential	School [Photograph].	Alert	Bay,	BC:	Anglican	Church	of	Canada	General	Synod	Archives	Residential	School	Photograph	Collection.;	d’Angelo,	S.	(2013).	Study	in	Alert	Bay	– St.	Michael’s	residential	school	1 [Photograph].	Artist’s	website.Bottom:	Monkman,	K.	(2017).	The	scream [Acrylic	on	canvas].	Artist’s	website.;	d’Angelo,	S.	(2013).	Study	in	Alert	Bay	– St.	Michael’s	residential	school	2[Photograph].	Artist’s	website.;	875-1,	part	2,	1889-1926,	Kwawkewlth	Agency	- Alert	Bay	Residential	School	- general	administration,	perm.	vol.	6426,	finding	aid	10-17,	microfilm	C-8756,	part	6	of	12. 2056692,	R00005325.	Library	and	Archives	Canada,	Ottawa.Scan	QR	code	for	an	expanded	bibliography	or	go	to	IRSHDC	will	be	home	to	a	wide	variety	of	materials,	including	but	not	limited	to:	documents,	photographs,	published	works,	archives,	objects/belongings,	datasets,	multimedia	– the	majority	of	which	will	be	digital.	We	are	challenged	to	design	systems	that	simultaneously	prioritize	Survivor	and	community	agency,	support	engagement	and	iteration,	and	push	back	against	colonial	systems	of	knowledge	organization.	Some	of	the	considerations	we	are	thinking	about	as	we	undertake	the	design	and	development	of	the	IRSHDC	systems:ChallengesandConsiderations• Designing	for	discomfort• Pluralism• Agency• Frictions	&	contradiction• Trust	&	distrust• Representing	silences• Complex	audiences• Traumatic	human	events/memories• SupportThe	Indian	Residential	School	History	and	Dialogue	Centre	(IRSHDC)	collections	draw	from	records	held	at	the	National	Centre	for	Truth	and	Reconciliation,	Libraries	and	Archives	Canada,	UBC,	and	other	sources.	It	will	also	be	a	physical	location	for	education,	public	information,	and	community	and	scholarly	access	to	records,	and	for	providing	access	to	similar	information	via	the	web.	The	Centre’s	interactive	public	display	areas	will	allow	visitors	to	explore	and	engage	a	selected	but	extensive	collection	of	digital	materials	in	support	of	education	and	public	history.	The	IRSHDC	has	a	unique	and	challenging	opportunity	to	create	dialogic	space	where	audiences	have	the	information	to	support	informed	exchange	and	reciprocity	is	possible.IndianResidentialSchoolHistory&DialogueCentreThe	work	of	the	IRSHDC	is	both	research	and	application	in	an	effort	to	provide	innovation	and	leadership	in	the	areas	of:• Research• Information/Data	Management• Curriculum	&	PedagogyBy	prioritizing	agency	and	pluralism,	we	posit	that	the	Centre	needs	to	be	a	place	that	enables	its	work	to	be	challenged	and	changed.	This	means	engaging	in	agile	and	collaborative	development	by	building	a	platform	that	can	support	work	and	research	that	leads	to	new	ways	of	accessing	and	arranging	information	and	records.	The	Centre	will	focus	on	outreach,	partnership,	and	designing	with—not	for—individuals	and	communities.	It	is	our	goal	that	this	will	create	new	opportunities	for	engagement	with	the	history	and	legacy	of	the	schools	and	contribute	to	the	work	of	decentering	colonial	systems	of	knowledge	organization.	DesigningtheSystemsLeft	to	right:	Jackson,	 L.	(2009).	Savage	[Still	 frame].;	Chrisjohn,	 R.	&	Young,	S.	(1997).	The	circle	game:	Shadows	 and	substance	in	the	Indian	residential	school	 experience.	Penticton,	BC:	Theytus	 Books.;	St.	Michael’s	 School,	 Alert	Bay	[Photograph].	(193-?).	HP083585, 193501-001. BC	Archives,	 Victoria.


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