Countless historical documents are held in archives across the country. These record everything from Land Defenders throughout history, environmental stewardship, everyday lives of communities, and kinship networks. First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, however, are often marginalized in these documents. The recorders of history treated Indigenous Peoples as—at best—an afterthought and—at worst—a voice too easily ignored. We see their erasure from the archival record when, for example, examining evidence of people assigned numbers when real names were too difficult to spell—a clear indicator that Indigenous identities were seen as too unimportant to properly record.
Know History specializes in gathering fragments of the past and recreating a space within the colonial record where unmodified stories can be told. Our team can help you find, contextualize, and analyze the archival records that breathe life into your history while providing invaluable information for other Indigenous communities.
If it’s out there, we will find it!
What We Offer
- Archival research
- Access to information requests
- Analytical report writing
- Copyright negotiations
- Gap analysis
- Government and private records consultation
- Photographic and cartographic research
- Literature review
- Research planning
- Video and media research
Indigenous Nation’s Community History
In 2019, Know History worked with Borden Ladner Gervais, on behalf of an Indigenous client, to conduct comprehensive archival research into a historical Indigenous community in Ontario, including its origins, cultural practices, traditional activities, kinship practices, and relationship with the colonial government. The client was also interested in documenting the geographic extent of the historic community and its harvesting practices to assist in the process of obtaining government recognition of harvesting rights.
Our team researched nearly 2,000 archival and published sources in libraries and local museums and archives throughout the province. We mined post journals, parish and mission records, military and Indian Department correspondence, census and survey records, and early travel narratives for any information relating to the community. A Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Study with contemporary harvesters complemented this work.
All of the research and data informed a comprehensive picture of the community summarized in a 190-page report. This report included kinship graphs illustrating the close ties between community members. The community now has access to sources and photographs that were previously inaccessible in archives across Ontario. They’ve also been able to reuse the information collected for this project for other products, including educational tools and historical magazines.