The Centre and its staff engage in many research projects at the local, national and international level, including collaborative projects to support research and teaching, and community outreach projects to support Indigenous communities.

Oral Testimonies Project

Recording oral histories, stories and testimony are central to the IRSHDC’s Survivor-centered work. As part of an ongoing initiative, the Centre enters into agreements with individuals and communities to record, store, translate, and transmit oral stories and statements in accordance with Indigenous community laws and customs. Careful consideration is given to the ethical use of all recordings, including both the content and the mode of transmission. The Centre is committed to a mindful, respectful, and trauma-informed approach to recording and sharing oral knowledge in all forms, including storytelling, song, ceremony, and others. In this way, we are working with communities to ensure the continuity of sacred oral histories and testimonies.

Mistreated: the legacy of Indian hospitals in BC and Alberta virtual exhibition (2020 – 2023)

Forthcoming exhibition funded in part by a Virtual Museum of Canada Virtual Exhibits grant focusing on the history of the Indian and tuberculosis (TB) hospitals in BC and Alberta. Inspired by the experiences of Survivors, this online exhibition chronicles the history of the Indian and TB hospitals in British Columbia and Alberta from the 1940s to the early 1970s and ongoing implications for Indigenous communities. Survivor experiences, conveyed through video/audio testimonies, archival documents and digitized artefacts support visitor engagement with these lived experiences, highlighting this forgotten chapter of Canadian history. This exhibition will provide an important dimension to efforts in reconciliation and learning by demonstrating that Indian hospitals, like other colonial structures such as day schools, the Sixties Scoop, and the IRS system, need to be part of on-going education and dialogue around disrupting colonialism. 

Youth Podcast Project

The IRSHDC is developing a youth podcast series to facilitate community and intergenerational dialogue between youth and supportive adults/Elders about the legacies of residential schools and the ongoing impacts of colonialism in Canada. The podcast will be a six-episode series, written and hosted by youth participants. The topics and themes of the episodes will be chosen by the youth/community participants but related to residential school Survivors, Intergenerational trauma, Truth and Reconciliation, child welfare, Indigenous identity, resurgence, and more. Working with partners such as the Indian Residential School Survivor Society and Cited Media, the podcast project is also an opportunity for Indigenous youth to develop their skills, receive training and work collaboratively with mentors. 

Indian Child Caravan: 40th Anniversary Exhibition (2022)

The IRSHDC, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), and Kukpi7 (Chief) Christian and the Splatsin community are The IRSHDC, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), and Kukpi7 (Chief) Christian and the Splatsin community are collaborating on an exhibition and publication to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Indian Child Caravan.  The caravan was an initiative by the Spallumcheen Band in reaction to an alarmingly high percentage of Indigenous children being removed from their homes. The march and demonstration, which took place over the Thanksgiving weekend in 1980, began in Prince George and culminated with a rally in Vancouver at the home of then BC Minister of Social Services Grace McCarthy. This assertion of rights and authority of care eventually led to an agreement that gave the Spallumcheen control over their own child welfare program.

Transformative Memory Project (2019 – 2022)

The Transformative Memory Project is an interdisciplinary research network that is led by UBC faculty and staff alongside international partners. Current UBC units associated with the project include the School of Social Work and Liu Institute for Global Issues (project principal investigators) as well as First Nations and Indigenous Studies, Political Science, the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program, History, and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. This international network of scholars, artists and community-based memory workers hopes to co-create and exchange knowledge and practice on the ways memory is employed to address the responsibility people have towards the well-being and rights of others in the aftermaths of mass violence. 

Digital Strategy Partnership Project (2019 – 2021)

In partnership with the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and Western Front, the Centre is working on a multi-year project to enhance discovery and access to the records of important cultural material and media art. Using CollectiveAccess, a content management software, this collaborative project will develop innovative and nuanced tools for processing, managing and delivering digital content. This project is funded in part through a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund. 

Dialogues for Indigenous Data, Information and Records (2019 – 2020)

In partnership with UBC’s Indigenous Research Support Initiative (IRSI), the Centre engaged with Indigenous communities, Survivors, researchers and information professionals to discuss issues around stewardship of Indigenous data, information and records. This dialogue series is supported by an Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation Connection Grant from the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).