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Saturday, November 5, 2016

twenty years later

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is proud to announce the release of documents related to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) on the 20th anniversary of the RCAP. This new database is now available on LAC's website. It will provide enhanced access to over 600 RCAP documents, including transcripts of more than 175 days of public hearings, consultations and roundtables; research studies by academics and community experts; and submissions by non-governmental organizations. Over its six-year mandate, the RCAP amassed thousands of hours of recorded testimony and hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, culminating in the publication of the 1996 RCAP final report. Until now, clients could only access this collection in person at LAC’s downtown Ottawa location, or by submitting a reprography request. LAC hopes that the new RCAP database will stimulate even more interest in this important topic.

Quick facts 
  • This announcement was made at the Sharing the Land, Sharing a Future National Forum in Winnipeg on November 3, 2016. 
  •  The RCAP archival fonds at LAC includes 72 metres of textual records; approximately 20,000 photographs, video and audio cassette recordings; and over 900 computer diskettes. 
  •  The RCAP documents selected for digitization include copies of 641 distinct items, including 175 days of hearings; nearly 200 research reports; more than 100 submissions from tribal councils, organizations and interest groups; and RCAP publications including its final report.

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Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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