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NEIHR Northwest Territories Network Environment
for Indigenous Health Research


The Archiving Knowledge Project


There are many Indigenous communities storing archives that include recordings, pictures, and artifacts at risk of being damaged or lost. Elders and knowledge keepers in these communities can inform the collection, organization and storage of these items in ways that respect Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS). They can facilitate meaningful and culturally relevant ways of collection, activation, organization and storage, and guide decisions on ownership of and access to Indigenous knowledge. 


We aim to explore the collection, organization of and access to Indigenous resources. These resources will be determined in collaboration with communities and informed by Elders who carry and will share local community knowledge systems. Understanding how to engage Elders, knowledge keepers, community leaders and members will inform the process for the many Indigenous communities hoping to preserve historical and current knowledge.


  • Learning from one community about Indigenous ways of activating, organizing, storing, and accessing Indigenous knowledge.
    • Establish monthly learning circles with community Elders and knowledge keepers as well as Indigenous researchers and archivists, at least one who is proficient in the local community language and English.  Research administration includes logistics of hosting monthly learning circles including but not limited to travel arrangements, expenses and reimbursements, accounting and reporting, protocol, honoraria, and communications.
  • Documenting lessons learned. In particular, the ways that IKS may inform strategies for the collection, organization, storage, and access to Indigenous resources.
    • At monthly learning circles, share with Elders and knowledge keepers the ways that IKS are informing steps and processes for the collection, organizing, storage, and access to community artifacts. Receive input and propose next steps. 
  • Sharing a process for developing/formalizing systems. Creating a place-specific roadmap for archiving the community’s artifacts to preserve and make accessible local Indigenous knowledge.
    • Using an iterative participatory action research approach, the community knowledge and language will be used to draft a process and roadmap for archiving community artifacts. Present proposal for an archival project.