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This project was initiated by the General Council Archives of the United Church of Canada, to make the larger collections in Toronto about Indigenous history more accessible to BC First Nations communities and researchers. We consider this project a form of digital repatriation to the Indigenous communities with whom we have a shared history and a responsibility to engage in meaningful conversations about the colonial past of British Columbia. We also thank the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre’s BC History Digitization Program for financial support of this project. While the material on this website focuses on British Columbia, we have received funding to continue this work to digitize the photographs and records relating to Indigenous communities across Canada.

Searching the Collection

The materials included on this site date from approximately 1850 to 1975 and concentrate on some locations in which the United Church established missions to First Nations communities, including Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Haida Gwaii, River’s Inlet, Port Essington, Hazelton, Port Simpson, and Kitamaat, for example. To assist with your research, the photographs have been categorized into five different types of mission work: general mission work, residential and day schools, medical, and marine missions. We have also categorized photographs which relate to specific First Nations communities, although many records remain unidentified in our collections. You are also able to search each section or the entire collection according to locations, titles, and First Nations communities. [What is the search criteria set on? Everything?]

If you have any information about a photograph, please contact the United Church Archives at archive@upanddownthecoast.ca or 1-800-268-3781 x 3123. Please record the accession and item numbers for the images you are interested in.