Records and Reconciliation: GP Friendship Centre Float

Photograph: Grande Prairie Friendship Centre Float, July 1, 1992 (SPRA

In 2020, the South Peace Regional Archives launched a major project, titled “Renaming the Past, Reclaiming Their Stories: Indigenous Records,” with financial support from Library and Archives Canada. The purpose of the project was to increase awareness of and access to Indigenous-related records within the Archives’ collections: by re-appraising, describing or re-describing, and digitizing more than 300 records in 70 fonds. This project is vital step in the Archives’ ongoing work towards Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We are now able to share these records with the community.

A feature of Canada Day Parades for over 30 years has been the float contributed by the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, featuring children, and sometimes Elders and other leaders in traditional and more modern dance regalia. The Friendship Centre in Grande Prairie was founded in 1965 and has a provincial and national profile, offering a wide variety of programs from Headstart for children through to food banks, cultural events and Elder services. This week’s image is from the Panda Camera fonds (fonds 190). Paul Pivert’s photography firm, Panda Camera, was called upon to record many community events, mostly in the commerce and industry sector, but he made a point of covering parades, including images of Friendship Centre and any other Indigenous participants.

If you were to compare the images of all the parade Friendship Centre floats, what might the differences between the earliest floats and ones taken more recently suggest to you about growing awareness of self-representation in Grande Prairie and the Peace?

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