About the records and collections

Browse the records and collections

In-person visitors can engage with records through interactive technology at the Centre. The records can also be accessed at any time online. 

Research support is available for Survivors and their families looking for personal records.  

“Cultural safety and integrity in the academy will not happen until those spaces decolonize their approach to “collection” and “interpreting” the lives of Indigenous Peoples and Nations – while Indigenous people are on the outside.” 

– Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Aki-kwe, Academic Director, IRSHDC

Records are an integral component of telling difficult histories. Records related to the Indian Residential School System and the Survivors who attended the schools are held in government, church and community archives as well as individual private collections. Many records related to the IRSS were gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), however, many exist outside of the TRC’s mandate of collection. 

Responding to the desire for Survivors and their families to have a single point of access to residential school records, the Centre provides access to an online database containing digital copies of records from partner organizations. This single access point brings together records that are otherwise dispersed online and in physical spaces. The Centre partners with organizations such as UBC Library at the local level, and Library Archives Canada at the national level, to expand its records and collections.

The Centre also works with individuals to collaboratively care for, describe, and access their stories. The Centre is honoured to be in the process of archiving Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden’s records. 

The records and collections available include the perspectives of students and their parents; church officials, clergy, and school staff; Indian agents and other government officials; journalists; and contemporary leaders, community members, and scholars. Available records include:

  • Survivor testimonies
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings 
  • Photographs
  • Maps and site plans
  • Government documents
  • Church documents
  • Belongings 
  • Newspaper articles
  • Library resources