The Practice of Digital Return in Nunatsiavut - Mark David Turner and Kyle Crotty
Research Partnership in 2015, the Nunatsiavut Government and Memorial University have worked closely on a range of digital archives projects aimed at providing Labrador Inuit with access to their rich historical record. Partnerships with content producers in the region like the OKâlaKatiget Society, the Moravian Church in Newfoundland and Labrador and the estate of James Robert Andersen; external archives like the Moravian Archives Bethlehem, the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives; and digital distribution platforms like Memorial University’s Digital Archives Initiative have allowed us to place digitized historic materials into closer proximity to Labrador Inuit. However, our efforts have yet to fully enable a digital return of these materials. What prevents us from bridging this gap completely is a complex regional ecology of policy, infrastructural capacity, and archival practice. Each of these factors have helped to create consensus and will for digital return, but they present unique barriers to enabling digital access and control for and by Labrador Inuit. First, this presentation will trace the conceptual development of our research partnership’s approach towards digital return and access within the context of policy, infrastructural capacity, and archival practice. Second, it will lay out an emerging model for Labrador Inuit-controlled digital access, articulated by Labrador Inuit themselves during recent public engagement sessions on heritagerelated matters.