An introduction by Raegan Swanson
I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself now that I have officially arrived at the CLGA. I'm thrilled to be back in Toronto and at the CLGA with all its amazing volunteers.
As a University of Toronto iSchool student I did my internship at the CLGA and later worked as a volunteer. While I was here I processed the radio program called the “Coming Out Show” that was done by David Meyers in British Columbia. I moved to Ottawa after my graduation to work at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) for the summer. LAC was a great opportunity to work with a number of great collections, including CUPE fonds and former Prime Minister Paul Martin’s personal fonds.
In the fall I was transferred to Manitoba (where I grew up) to work as the Digital Archivist at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). I was responsible for collecting the testimony of Indian Residential School Survivors, their families as well as former staff, church officials and the general public. Working with a large group who were dedicated to sharing the stories and acknowledging the trauma of the schools was very fulfilling, though at times physically and emotionally exhausting for everyone involved. Our collections at the TRC were almost exclusively digital and it quickly became one of the largest digital archival collections in Canada.
I missed working in a community run archives, so when the chance came to go back and work as a community archivist I packed up and moved to Oujé-Bougoumou in Eeyou Ischee (northern Québec). There I set up the archive at Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute. Living and working in the north was a great experience, and it taught me a lot about policy, procedures and standards for small archives. When that contract ended, I moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick where I was the Archival Advisor for the Council of Archives New Brunswick. While in New Brunswick I started my PhD at the University of Dundee about the importance of community archives in cultural identity for First Nations and Inuit groups in Québec.
My time as a student at the CLGA had a profound impact on my archival career and PhD research. I am thrilled to be here and I am looking forward to working with our staff, committees and many volunteers. Volunteers have always been at the heart of the CLGA and that is one of the things that this place so special.