Renaming the Past, Reclaiming Their Stories: Indigenous Records at the South Peace Regional Archives

Photograph: First Dominion Day Celebration On Grande Prairie. 1910. SPRA 0001-2001.01.102 Part of Pioneer Museum Society of Grande Prairie and District fonds.

The South Peace Regional Archives initiated a survey of the region’s holdings in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) call to actions to locate records within their holdings related to Indian Residential Schools. We found very few records related to residential schools, but we did find several records related to Indigenous people and communities in our region. We decided to expand the scope of our research to look for any records related to Indigenous peoples within our holdings.

Thanks to the efforts of staff and volunteers, we now have a small database of material to share. While we pursue avenues of access, we would like to start sharing some of these images and documents.

The original caption for this image reads, “Aboriginal Teepees and Metis Tents at Saskatoon Lake for the first Dominion Day Celebrations on the Grande Prairie.” The journals and diaries of early white settlers to the region often mention regular and positive relationships and interactions with all the Indigenous communities already in place. Some of those interactions include trading, labour, guiding, and fun events such as the Dominion Day celebration depicted. While we have a number of records and holdings that document white settler experience of fun, we have very little evidence of the Indigenous experience of fun during the early days of white settlement. What were their special cultural events, sports, and entertainment?

If you have any records of stories you would like to share about any aspect of Indigenous history in the region,  we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at or 780-830-5105.

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