Project Overview

A poster version (PDF, 210 KB) of the text was presented at the National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering in Edmonton Alberta in 2023.


The United Church of Canada Archives holds a significant collection of records which document the church’s colonizing practices across hospitals, missions, day schools, and residential schools. Since 2022, the United Church’s General Council Archives has been undertaking a large digitization project focused on making these records more accessible to Indigenous survivors and communities.

The Project

Growing out of the archives’ response to the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Calls to Action (2015) and our commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the project is the third in a three-phased research project.

Three phases of the digitization project: Phase 1: Scope, phase 2: research, phase 3 (current phase) digitization.

This third phase involves the review, description, and digitization of records to facilitate a greater understanding of the Archives’ Indigenous materials and easier access to this information by Indigenous communities. The General Council Archives are carrying out this project in collaboration with a third-party vendor who will undertake the bulk of scanning.

Building Awareness

In response to Calls to Action and principles proclaiming the Right to Know, digitizing records will enable the archives to provide communities with better access to information and data.

Maintaining Transparency

Indigenous people have the right to transmit their histories, writing systems, literatures, to future generations. This project affirms our obligations to uphold community control of how information about them is collected and used.

Redress and Reparation

Aligning with UNDRIP principles, the project is meant to enable community-led mechanisms for prevention and redress. The digitization of these records will maintain channels of accountability while the archives act as stewards of these records.


The purview of this project includes:

  • Archival-textual materials
  • Library materials
  • Periodicals & reports
  • Architectural drawings
  • Audiovisual materials
  • Graphic materials

Flagged materials relate to:

  • Day schools
  • Residential schools
  • Hostels
  • Hospitals, preventoriums and sanatoriums
  • Missions, churches, and pastoral charges