Image: [Letter From Auila Productions], Nov. 29, 1996 (SPRA 007.04.18)
In 2020, the South Peace Regional Archives launched a major project, titled “Renaming the Past, Reclaiming Their Stories: Indigenous Records,” with financial support from Library and Archives Canada. The purpose of the project was to increase awareness of and access to Indigenous-related records within the Archives’ collections: by re-appraising, describing or re-describing, and digitizing more than 300 records in 70 fonds. This project is vital step in the Archives’ ongoing work towards Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We are now able to share these records with the community.
The item we are highlighting this week is a letter by Mike Dodson, producer for Aquila Productions, to Peter Goertzen, regarding his plan for the Spirt of the Peace Promotional film, eventually named “Discover the Spirit of the Peace”. This letter in in the Spirit of the Peace fonds (fonds 007) and is available in its entirety on Alberta on Record. Dodson proposed that the principal narrator will be played as a Native elder, introducing the early history and each episode. This 1996 proposal imagines an Indigenous elder, yet the final production eventually would be performed by a non-Indigenous actor and the script will not be written by local Indigenous knowledge-keepers or elders. During the time this project was conceived, issues of cultural appropriation were not yet widely raised or debated, as they would be by the years following 2000.
The Discover the Spirit of the Peace film was featured in our Movie Monday blog series in late 2020. It is available to view and read about here.