Thursday was the first day of the conference. In the morning we listened to two presentations from B.C, including one from our former YCW student Nailisa Tanner.
On Saturday I presented again with Canadian and American archivists. The session title was Looking Toward the Future: Aboriginal Archives in Canada and the United States and it was organised by Jennifer O’Neal from the University of Oregon. Also on the panel was Jonathan Pringle from Northern Arizona University, Lim Lawson from the University of British Columbia Xwi7xwa Library, Sherry Lawson from Chippewas of Rama First Nation and Patricia Kennedy formally of Library and Archives Canada. The panel discussed the Aboriginal Archives Guide published by that ACA and the Protocols for Native American Materials that was published in the USA in 2006. Standing up and speaking beside such an impressive crowd was a bit intimidating, and I was quite nervous. We each presented on different topics, some of us giving our experiences using or creating guides, while others discussed the state of their community archives. Each person had a unique view of the Guide and Protocols and it was great to hear about what other members of the aboriginal archival community were working on. One of the greatest points came from Kim Lawson when she was describing the Aboriginal Archives Guide the night before the conference. She spoke of how the Aboriginal Archive Guide should act like a bridge, connecting aboriginal communities to the archive community. Aboriginal communities may choose to take some of the ideas in the guidebook, but not everything will work for each community. Being flexible is very important, notably when working with communities who all have different mandates and resources.
The conference finished on a great note – the closing dinner and dance gala. We had a great time talking (and dancing) with the people that we had met during the week. The conference may be over but the work has just started. Taking the ideas that were shared and discussed by our archival colleagues, continuing to improve our professional learning and updating resources for the next year will be more than enough to keep me busy over the next year.