The steps of the process
One step at a time!
It is from consultations made by Minwashin in all the communities of its network, that certain problems related to heritage were brought to light. Once the fear of losing tangible traces of Anicinabe heritage and culture was expressed, the solution of creating a digital platform gradually emerged and became clearer. This platform would serve to preserve important documents, disseminate the heritage and make it accessible in the anicinabe communities as well as to the general public.
Minwashin accepted this mission and began to think about how Nipakanatik would operate to virtually repatriate objects, documents and information held by non-Anicinabe knowledge and memory institutions. The intention to acquire the archives, objects and documents, to develop the project and to share the information in an ethical manner, in accordance with a decolonisation philosophy, soon emerged. The drafting of an ethical guide was assigned to Maurice J. Kistabish.
With the assistance of the Corporation de la Maison Dumulon and the MA Musée d’art, a request for digital repatriation was made to museums and memory institutions likely to possess anicinabe archives or heritage elements. Following several discussions with these partners, they provided inventories and then agreed to digitise these artefacts and share their metadata with Minwashin. At the same time, research conducted by historian Guillaume Marcotte revealed traces of Anicinabe graphic heritage in several documents.
Minwashin continued its collaboration with the Corporation de la Maison Dumulon, which developed a database on the Omeka S platform. The Minwashin team then mobilised to create a website that would respect the ethical guide, in collaboration with students from the University of Montreal's School of Library and Information Sciences.
The third Miaja gathering, which focused on heritage, created a fervour for heritage preservation and set the stage for the project coordinator, who worked with the School of Library and Information Sciences students to develop a strategy for digitising the archives, artefacts and documents held by communities and their members.
A tour of Minwashin’s network allowed to begin digitising the archives, artefacts and documents held by the communities and their members. The team first focused on the documents most likely to disappear in the short term in order to digitise them and integrate them immediately into the virtual library. A second phase then allowed for the integration of all other heritage elements proposed by community members. The Knowledge Keepers Committee was formed to ensure that the themes and values of Nipakanatik would be respected and to analyse each element of the library to decide on its level of confidentiality.