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Archives

Innu woman making snowshoes in front of her tent at Utshimassit (Old Davis Inlet), early 1960s. Credit: Ray Webber

The preservation of documented materials in archives is one of the fundamental ways to safeguard ICH. There are more than 160 community archives around Newfoundland and Labrador that contain collections of sound recordings, photographs or other materials that document the province’s ICH.

These offer a record of traditional skills and practices, some of which have disappeared and many others that carry on. These primary documents are important to our heritage from an historical perspective, and also because they show us how and why things were done.

At present, no province-wide inventory exists of these scattered holdings, and there are few linkages among the various repositories. A complete inventory of the ICH of Newfoundland and Labrador was one of the primary recommendations of the 2006 ICH Forum.

ANLA

The Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives (ANLA) is engaged in the efforts of its members to preserve and make available these valuable records, and to provide ongoing educational opportunities for those who wish to upgrade their archival skills

MEMORIAL'S DIGITAL ARCHIVE INITIATIVE

Memorial University of Newfoundland's Digital Archive Initiative (DAI) has undertaken a long-term, coordinated effort to digitize the learning and research-based cultural resources managed by archives and departments at Memorial. The DAI provides mechanisms for the long-term preservation of digital objects in a variety of formats (image, audio, video, etc.) and for controlled access to the digital collections for members of the Memorial University community and the general public.

The DAI has agreed to participate in the formation of a province-wide ICH inventory, and is currently mounting a pilot project that displays some of the ICH of one particular community, The Battery, recently deposited by graduate students of the Department of Folklore. This ICH web site offers an interface between the inventory on the DAI and users of the internet.

MUNFLA

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the largest repository of ICH documentation is the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archives (MUNFLA). MUNFLA is a joint creation of the departments of Folklore and English, and was set up to co-ordinate diverse research in about the province undertaken in both departments, to organize it for research and publication, and to create a permanent record for future generations.

MUNFLA comprises extensive collections of Newfoundland and Labrador folksongs and music, folk narratives of many kinds, oral history, folk customs, beliefs and practices, childlore and descriptions of material culture. It has special collections of Newfoundland vocabulary, proverbs and riddles; it also houses material for a projected linguistic atlas of the province. Popular culture is an increasing element in MUNFLA's holdings, including commercial recordings, radio broadcasts, and recordings of local theatrical performances.

THEM DAYS

In Labrador the magazine THEM DAYS was established to record, document, research and publish the oral, visual and written history of Labrador. It conducts special projects of research, translation, consultation, maintenance of archival collections and production of publications on matters relating to Labrador history and culture. The archival collections consist of interviews with Labradorians in the form of sound recordings, video recordings and photographs, as well as copies of historical photographs and various published materials on the history and culture of Labrador.

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