Incomplete Archives

September 27, 2011

Balloons for Canada Day and birthday celebrations in Inuvik.

I am still sifting through the notes I took in Inuvik. I spent the last few days listening to recordings and watching footage on the TRC’s website. Unfortunately, many of my own recordings are of poor quality. During the giving of testimony, I didn’t want to be intrusive with my audio recording device. Even though it’s small, I felt that it marked me as an outsider, a researcher there to observe as opposed to participate. So, for the most part, I pressed record and left it on my lap. Because the room would get cold or warm or stuffy, the sound of doors opening and closing, and the periodic whirring of a fan muffle some parts of the testimony. But even when deciphering exact words is difficult, I can hear the emotion and strength of the Survivors come through.

The recordings are an incomplete archive of what I heard and saw in Inuvik. But I suppose that all archives are incomplete. Sometimes it is in filling in the absences of these archives where the most productive work is done. In the meantime, it reminds me of the courage of those who participated in the Inuvik event.

The IRS TRC’s next national event will be held in Halifax from October 26 – 29, 2011. More information is available here.

3 Responses to “Incomplete Archives”


  1. I feel I am not doing your blog post justice as I simply want to thank you for posting the photo of the balloons. I too was in Inuvik, but never had the opportunity to see the balloons set up before they either flew away or became toys for the entertainment of children. As you speak of incomplete archives, in my own mind this image has helped me to see a visual that I had only heard others speak of and for that I am appreciative. Especially, given the how powerfully emotional the birthday celebration for survivors was.

    • n.a. Says:

      Hello Colleen,
      Thank you for commenting!

      I found your comment interesting because I unfortunately had to leave Inuvik before the birthday festivities. I saw the setup, but had to leave for the airport before the actual celebration, so I only heard about it through others. For me, the balloons are part of this incomplete archive, one that I don’t think can ever be quite “complete.” Sometimes we can fill in the absences in these archives, and sometimes they remain as silences.

      I’m interested in seeing how the Halifax gathering unfolds. Perhaps I will see you there.

      All the best, and thank you again for commenting!
      Naomi


  2. […] TRC is gearing up for the third national gathering in Halifax. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m still working through the complicated dynamics of the first two events. It will be […]


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