August 19, 2021

Above: Archives Assistant (Student), Kaydence Redding, processing an album from the Hines-Sutherland Family fonds.

This summer I had the incredible opportunity to return to the South Peace Regional Archives (SPRA) in my former role of Archives Assistant (Student). Once again, my summer spent at SPRA has been incredibly rewarding and enjoyable. I have learned more about the important role archives play in preserving our history, and I am proud to have played a part in this through my various processing projects. Over the last four months I completed the processing of two new fonds, the Bezanson Community Blooms fonds (645) and the Hines-Sutherland Family fonds (679). I also processed an accrual to the South Peace Regional Archives Sound Recording Collection (504) which consisted of 4 interviews of former Alberta Provincial Police Officers. Additionally, I worked on a newspaper inventory and rehousing project, during which I was able to inventory and rehouse over 2.5 meters of newspapers!

While processing was among my favorite activities this summer, I was thankful to work on projects such as the #ThrowbackThursday Facebook campaign, hosting an online education session with the Grande Prairie Public Library, and writing Telling Our Stories articles. All of these activities focused on public outreach and helped me build connections to the communities and people of the South Peace throughout my work term.

For me, one of the more important aspects of my role this summer was the work I did on projects related to Reconciliation. This included working on the Library and Archives Canada funded project “Reclaiming the Past, Reclaiming Their Stories: Indigenous Records”, presenting a virtual session with the Grande Prairie Public Library on our findings from the Indigenous Records project, and writing articles about Indigenous-related content to be featured in future Telling Our Stories magazines. An additional resource I worked on, that I hope will have long lasting impact, was the Indigenous Records Research Guide that can be found on the SPRA website. The vast amount of material available on our website may make it hard to know where to start when researching Indigenous history. In order to help with this, the research guide compiles lists of the fonds, library books, reference files, and Telling Our Stories articles within the archives collections that have Indigenous-related content in order to make this content more easily accessible for everyone.

After my first work term at SPRA last summer, I was inspired to switch my field of study into something that would allow me to pursue a Master’s Degree in Archival Studies in my future. After spending a second summer immersed in the archival world, I couldn’t be happier with my decision. These past four months have taught me so much about the possible obstacles and victories that come along with working in the archival field. Every piece of information that I gained throughout the last two summers has left me immensely excited to learn more in the future, and reinforced my desire to become an archivist one day. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to have worked at SPRA once again, I will greatly miss getting to collaborate with SPRA’s amazing staff, Stephanie and Teresa, and the ability to immerse myself in the history of the South Peace on a daily basis.

This post was contributed by Kaydence Redding, the Archives Assistant (Student). This position is made possible thanks to funding from Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations.

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