Library and Archives Canada offers funds for Indigenous digitization projects

Deadline to apply is July 17

Leah Otak, who died on March 7, 2014, is seen here digitizing one of hundreds of taped interviews with Igloolik elders. The book The Hands’ Measure, published earlier this year, honours Otak and her contributions to Arctic science, especially through her digitization work. (Photo by Chris Windeyer)

By Kahlan Miron

Library and Archives Canada wants to help Indigenous organizations preserve their past by transferring it into the future.

Their new initiative—Listen, Hear Our Voices—is calling for applications to fund the digitization of culture and language recordings from cassette and VHS tapes.

“LAC is proud to assist Indigenous communities in their efforts to secure a sustainable future for their heritage recordings,” said deputy librarian and archivist Normand Charbonneau in a news release.

Eligible projects can focus on the digitization of records, training and equipment. However, funding cannot be used to create new recordings.

Examples of organizations—which must be Indigenous and non-profit, if applying as the primary applicant—that might be interested include cultural centres, community organizations, libraries, historical societies and more.

Depending on the size of the project, organizations can potentially receive up to $100,000. An Indigenous review committee, independent of LAC, will review applications and make funding recommendations.

The window to apply closes July 17.

As Nunavut’s Inuit Broadcasting Corp. discovered, digitization is a long and expensive process.

But the IBC and other organizations, like the Igloolik Research Centre, know it’s important when faced with the deterioration of taped recordings.

That’s why the Listen, Hear Our Voices initiative has seven archivists based around Canada in traditional territories that can deliver services, such as assisting in digitization and storing files on their servers, and will help with the application process for this funding opportunity.

There is just one Inuit archivist of those seven, Jennelle Doyle, who lives in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. Doyle is responsible for helping those in Inuit Nunangat with applications.

She will be travelling to Kuujjuaq and Kangiqsujuaq in Nunavik from May 21 to 23 to present information on the project.

Doyle hopes to go to Nunavut in June. Other staff will be travelling through Nunavut and Nunavik as well, and Doyle will be available through email and telephone for remote assistance.

Contact information for archivists can be requested by email from Listen, Hear Our Voices.

LAC will also be hosting webinars on to-be-determined dates, where staff can answer general application questions and offer tips on the necessary forms.

You can reach Listen, Hear Our Voices through the contact information found on the initiative’s website, where there’s also more details on application procedures and eligibility.

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