UAlberta to support digitization of priceless Indigenous cultural materials

January 9, 2019

A roomful of old interviews, music, and movies has turned out to be a treasure trove of Indigenous culture and language, reports CBC, and the man who saved this treasure is now working with the University of Alberta's Institute for Sound Studies to ensure that they are properly preserved and studied. Photographer Bert Crowfoot originally bought the materials from a now-defunct Indigenous cultural organization for one dollar decades ago, and is now working with UAlberta to turn the materials into a searchable digital archive. Known as “Digitizing the Ancestors,” the project will work to convert an estimated 2,000 reel-to-reel audio tapes and about 1,000 reels of 16-mm film to digital format. “Stories are important, images are important. It's a way of preserving and reviving our culture,” said Crowfoot, who notes that other Indigenous communities are already looking to “Digitizing the Ancestors” as a model for cultural preservation.