"Giving life to the truth": Indigenous art as a pathway to archival decolonization
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Archives are a site of power, and the archivists who appraise, describe and create access to the records hold great responsibility as they enact that power. Archival institutions are a key site where colonialism has been enacted with real and multiple effects on Indigenous communities. Looking to advance the decolonization of the archive and support Indigenous people in Canada, this thesis advocates the collection of Indigenous art as a social memory medium that holds authenticity and evidence of historical truth. Indigenous art can enable and demonstrate healing from trauma, share and preserve Indigenous culture and knowledge, reveal truths from personal experience, fight racism, resist colonial beliefs, promote awareness of problems Indigenous people may face, and encourage activism. A case study of the Legacy Archive at the National Inquiry into MMIWGs demonstrates how applying archival theory, and implementing international Indigenous protocols, are helping to make strong headway into decolonizing archives.