The Association for Manitoba Archives has recognized Dr. Mary Jane McCallum and Dr. Erin Millions with a 2021 Manitoba Day Award for their project, Indigenous Afternoons in the Archives.
In early 2020, before the pandemic brought in-person activity to a halt, McCallum and Millions hosted a series of free archival research drop-in sessions to encourage researchers, students, and community members to spend time accessing and interpreting historical records at the Archives of Manitoba.
Indigenous Afternoons in the Archives ran in partnership with the Archives of Manitoba and the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, along with the generous support of volunteer scholars Adele Perry, David Parent, and Merissa Daborn.
The program was initiated as part of the Manitoba Indigenous Tuberculosis Photo Project. It was so successful in its effort to encourage community participation that it is now being implemented at other archives across Canada.
When they could no longer host community-based workshops, McCallum and Millions shifted their focus to digital engagement to connect former Indigenous TB patients and their families with vital historical photos and archival information.
The Manitoba Indigenous Tuberculosis Photo Project is the only project in Canada that weaves together Indigenous health research, archival research, digital humanities, community-based workshops, and public history. Moreover, this is the only health research project that has been initiated and led by two highly-trained, university-based professional historians of Indigenous people, and led in conversation with relevant leadership including the Manitoba Lung Association, the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and the Manitoba Lung Association.
Over the next three years, McCallum and Millions will continue to host community-based events to share photos, repatriate copies on request, and work with community members, survivors and descendants to identify the individuals in the photos and share recollections in a private, welcoming space. At these workshops, which will take place in person and online, participants have opportunities to identify individuals in photos and share personal testimonies about TB histories.
McCallum and Millions look forward to continuing their research post-pandemic with another series of Indigenous Afternoons in the Archives events in partnership with Archives Manitoba and the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. In the meantime, community members are encouraged to connect through social media on Instagram (@TBPhotoProject), Twitter (@TBPhotoProject), and Facebook (@TBPhotoProject).