December 14, 2020

Image: A film still depicting the Peace River (SPRA 0505.11a-b, Fonds 505: South Peace Regional Archives Film collection)

Movie Monday highlights videos from the Archives’ film collection. Every week, an archival film will be featured on our YouTube channel and here on our blog. The Movie Monday project is made possible with the generous funding support of Swan City Rotary Club of Grande Prairie.

Today on Movie Monday we are sharing a video that was produced by the Spirit of the Peace Museums in 1997. The film’s purpose was to promote the history and museums of the Peace River District, making it a valuable resource for both the classroom and the individual looking to learn more about the area.

The Spirit of the Peace Museums network consists of over twenty museums and archives in northwestern Alberta. The group was formed in 1989 and since its inception has been dedicated to working together as team in order to preserve the area’s history and share that history with the public. Members meet quarterly to discuss ideas, share information, and report on activities in an effort to inspire and support one another.

Member organizations also collaborate on projects such as the “History of the Peace Country in 150 Objects” initiative that marked Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017. The South Peace Regional Archives contributed ten archival objects to the project. The Archives’ role within the Spirit of the Peace network is to offer professional support and enhance the capacity of museums and archives in the surrounding area. One area in which the Archives can offer assistance and expertise is the preservation of documents, photographs, and film. In some cases, these materials will be transferred directly to SPRA, where they will be stored and cared for, but remain accessible to the public. Examples include the Pioneer Museum Society of Grande Prairie & District fonds, the DeBolt & District Pioneer Museum Society fonds, and the Spirit River Settlement Historical Society fonds.

The Spirit of the Peace Museums network is essential to the continuation of relationships between archives and museums throughout the Peace Country, and to the preservation of our area’s history.

Note: the music during the credits was muted for copyright reasons.

Note from the Indigenous History Committee, June 2021: Through work done on an Indigenous Records project, funded by Libraries and Archives Canada, we have determined that the narrator of this film was a non-Indigenous actor, and not an Indigenous elder. Indigenous peoples have long been underrepresented or misrepresented in media which often results in negative stereotypes. We acknowledge that Spirit of the Peace’s choice to represent an Indigenous perspective was made with good intentions; however, we now have a better understanding about the importance of self-representation for Indigenous peoples and cultures.


Note from Spirit of the Peace, June 2021: The “Discover the Spirit of the Peace” film includes a non-Indigenous actor playing the role of a Beaver storyteller. The purpose of this character was to represent the first inhabitants of this region and connect the various historical periods to the present; our intent was to celebrate the history and continued presence of Indigenous peoples.

We recognize that this character reinforces stereotypes of Indigenous peoples and apologize for any unintended harm caused by the depiction. The Spirit of the Peace Network proudly serves all people of the Peace River region and we will look for new opportunities to include Indigenous voices.

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