Library and Archives Canada has a searchable database of historical government and private works, both published and non-published, for you to explore. Looking at the “archives” section will bring up photos and and documents often viewable online. The institution was brought together through federal legislation in 2004, tying together the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada. They are mandated to provide a wealth of information and memory accessible to all Canadians. As one would expect, their collection is broad and could be of interest to many avenues of research. They do have a specific section on Aboriginal Peoples including databases, research aids, and virtual exhibitions.
Indigenous tribes in Canada have a long history of oral tradition and most often did not have a traditional written language. Considering our discussions this week about the goals of Aboriginal Education versus the euro-centric mainstream and the struggles of Aboriginal children to relate to westernized instruction methods, perhaps it is no surprise that Aboriginal literacy rates in Canada are often lower than non-Aboriginal literacy rates. Compounding struggles for literacy is the fact that neither provincial nor federal library funding extends to Aboriginal reserve lands. Realizing the importance of literacy, First Nations in BC have begun to found private libraries on Reserve land. The first on-reserve library in British Columbia was opened in 2007 on Haida Gwaii, and more recently the Thistalalh Memorial Library opened it’s doors to the coastal community of Bella Bella. As a place for stories, oral traditions, games, family time and more, Libraries may become a more common feature of Reserve communities.