Due to societal pressures of the past, many Indigenous people destroyed documents linking them to their heritage. Those who didn’t, kept their documents hidden for decades.
Now, these and many more are accessible for the first time thanks to Société historique de Saint-Boniface (SHSB).
SHSB has made it easier to access the troves of historical information it maintains, including hundreds of Indigenous documents previously hidden away because of shame or fear.
Digitizing documents is a long and difficult job. A grant from The Winnipeg Foundation helped SHSB scan and digitize hundreds of documents to improve access, as well as preserve these important historic pieces for the rest of time.
“This particular collection of documents from the Union nationale métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba fonds is important to the Métis people of the West, and to the general public,” says Julie Reid, Archivist at SHSB.
“The history of the Métis has been in the news more and more in the past few years and this collection is an important part of it. The more accessible it is, the better!”
Scanned documents, some of which are often the last remnants connecting people with their past, are now available through SHSB’s website.
“Most of our clients for genealogical searches are Métis descendants so their history is important to them. When they come here to retrace their ancestry, they often want more information,” Ms. Reid says.
“Once they have retraced their roots, we can provide them much of that information.”
This story is featured in Spring/Summer edition of The Winnipeg Foundation’s Working Together magazine.