Indigitization Futures Forum

What was the Indigitization Futures Forum event? Indigitization_logo

The Indigitization Futures Forum, which occurred in June 2016, brought together an emerging network of community-based information professionals and practitioners, academics, and a wider community of specialists who work to support context-appropriate information practices within Indigenous communities.

It is understood by information practitioners in communities and in the academy that information practices and ways of managing information, as taught in college and university settings, are firmly rooted in Western knowledge systems. These practices often conflict with Indigenous knowledge systems, and in many cases have been harmful. For example, most information systems do not support community-based rights management, provide options for Indigenous languages, nor are they responsive to cultural protocols. Indigenous communities need information tools and practices relevant to governance that are grounded by their specific knowledge system and are also effective in the Western context.

Indigitization supports the decolonization of information management, particularly in the area of digital media production and management, and has developed an online toolkit specifically for Indigenous communities in British Columbia. To date, through four rounds of Barber Centre funding, over 4,000 recordings have been digitized through nineteen projects in Indigenous communities. (For project summaries, please visit Community Projects.) These projects have ranged from digitizing recordings for language revitalization, oral histories, ceremonial and other materials vital for land use and resource management and for maintaining community history. Although transferring these vital recordings from old tapes to digital formats is critical to their survival and usefulness – a process that is not unique to Indigenous communities – these communities do have specific needs and challenges that require new approaches. What we have built to date is iterative and requires community feedback to continue to succeed, and as such the Forum was vital in gathering these responses. Indigitization is committed to supporting broader training and services both for our participants in previous projects and for other BC Indigenous communities facing similar information management challenges.

Why did the Indigitization Futures Forum event occur?

New models of information practice, grounded in the needs of First Nations governance, language revitalization, heritage preservation and Indigenous access protocols, require a collaborative engagement between those trying to support community information and knowledge management needs, and the broader professional and academic community concerned with supporting these initiatives. The Indigitization team is committed to “clarifying process and identifying issues in the conservation, digitization and management of Indigenous community knowledge” and the Forum gave us an opportunity to build on this. Over the weekend, we were grateful to learn from communities as to what Indigitization can do to best support this commitment.

Supporting knowledge and information workers in communities requires the development of more appropriate tools, relevant training, and assessment services in concert with the expressed needs of these practitioners. Now that communities are working to bring their analogue media into the digital realm, they have insights and questions that will inform the development of more relevant practices and information systems designed to meet the specific needs of Indigenous communities. Those working in the academic context do not have ready-made solutions; it is only by working together, sharing ideas, and learning from false starts and successes in community contexts that new, “disruptive” information practices will be developed that motivate changes in how information management is transformed in this context.

Who attended the Indigitization Futures Forum?

We were very fortunate to share the weekend with past and current Indigitization participants and other B.C. Indigenous communities, and with those working in or with BC First Nations, Métis, and Inuit community institutions and agencies that have the preservation of digital information and media resources as part of their mandate. The types of institutions and agencies ranged from resource centres, to genealogical centres, land use centres, and centres of governance (i.e. Band Council offices). Across the board, all those who attended the Indigitization Futures Forum shared an interest in sharing experiences and learning about audio digitization, information management systems and content management, media accessibility within the community, and new digital technologies.

When was the Indigitization Futures Forum event?

The event ran from Friday June 10  to Sunday June 12.

Where did the Indigitization Futures Forum event take place?

The Indigitization Futures Forum took place on UBC’s Point Grey Campus, located on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam people. The land it is situated on has always been a place of learning for the Musqueam people, who had previously received teachings in their culture, history, and traditions from one generation to the next. We would like to thank the Musqueam Nation for their hospitality.

The Futures Forum took place in various locations around UBC Point Grey Campus and the Musqueam Cultural Education Resource Centre, including the:


Further questions about the Futures Forum may be directed to Sarah Dupont, Aboriginal Engagement Librarian by email or telephone (604) 827-0342.

The Indigitization Futures Forum wishes to thank the following sponsors:

indigitization sponsor list May 2016 II