Finding Memory: Highlights from the Indigenous Reference Files

One of the large projects for our summer student this year was digitizing the Indigenous reference files. This project involved digitizing and describing the reference files related to Indigenous peoples in this region. There are twenty-two Indigenous reference files with twenty centimeters of textual records. This project was prioritized to support the Indigenous History Committee, whose purpose is to examine the ways we can preserve and promote the history of the Indigenous Peoples in the south Peace in order to support reconciliation. This committee was established in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s (TRC) Calls to Action. The Indigenous Reference File Project was chosen because it helps make Indigenous centered information publicly available.  This helps to do our part in fulfilling the TRC Calls to Action.

The digitization portion of this project was finished in mid-July. As we create an itemized finding aid for the files we will start to share some of the items through blog posts, like this one!

This item is an article about solving the Raft Baby of the Peace River mystery.  The author of the article, Harrold Fryer, explained that this story was a saga of tragedy and coincidence that remained a mystery for eighteen years.  The baby girl was found by her Uncle who did not know that the baby was his niece, he passed her along to a woman in a nearby Beaver camp who took care of her.  The baby was passed along to different families who cared for her until she reached the Vining family who formally adopted her.  Lilly Vining, the raft baby, did not know her identity for many years until the mystery was solved by Reverend Alfred C. Garrioch. Harrold Fryer’s article was adapted from Reverend Alfred C. Garrioch’s A Hatchet Mark in Duplicate.

The reference files give us a glimpse into our local history, and especially now that they are digitized, are an incredibly valuable resource! If you want to see more from the Indigenous reference files, keep your eye on the blog for posts like this.

SPRA 510.12.13.001 Part of the Indigenous Reference Files collection