British Columbia

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation founding director hired to decolonize archives at B.C. university

Ry Moran, a member of the Red River Métis and founding director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba, will take up the position of associate university librarian for reconciliation at the University of Victoria this fall.

Ry Moran has been appointed associate university librarian for reconcilation at UVic

Ry Moran will lead efforts at the University of Victoria to decolonize approaches to the university’s archives and collection and integrate Indigenous knowledge into those collections, beginning in September. (Nardella Photography Inc.)

After guiding the creation of a national archive that includes thousands of stories from residential school survivors, Ry Moran, founding director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at the University of Manitoba, is bringing his expertise to the West Coast.

Moran, a member of the Red River Métis, has been appointed associate university librarian for reconciliation at the University of Victoria and will start in the role this September.

According to UVic President Jamie Cassels, it is the first position of its kind in the country.

Moran is tasked now with leading efforts to decolonize the university's archives and collections, including bringing new materials in that reflect Indigenous knowledge and history and organizing collections in a way that helps students and faculties access that information with ease.

"Sometimes information is not present enough for people to gain access to Indigenous collections of material and sometimes information is not brought together in a way that brings meaning to it," said Moran Wednesday on CBC's On The Island.

He said Indigenous people have typically been excluded from major policy decisions within institutions, and as a result, archives at these institutions can be "woefully unbalanced."

"When we actually take a step back and look at what has happened ... in this country, it's all actually been founded on archives, memory, traditional knowledge and oral storytelling," said Moran.

Ry Moran, a member of the Red River Métis, has been appointed associate university librarian for reconciliation at the University of Victoria and will start in the role this September. (Twitter/@UVicLib)

He said working toward transformational changes on Canadian campuses must also include taking a critical look at the administrative process and policies at these institutions.

"How we run and operate these major public institutions is absolutely at the heart of truth and reconciliation," said Moran.

He said his new role shows that post-secondary institutions have really heard the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action and understand they have a social responsibility to heed the call.

"The TRC's calls to action are the foundation for a vision of a better collective future in Canada. We are delighted that Ry Moran will take a leadership role in helping to guide us along the path towards truth and reconciliation," said Jonathan Bengston, UVic's senior librarian.

Moran will be a member of the UVic Libraries senior management team on the UVic campus on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen peoples and in the traditional lands of the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. 

The move is a homecoming of sorts for Moran, who graduated from the UVic in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in political science and history. 

To hear the complete interview with Ry Moran on CBC's On The Island, tap the audio link below:

Gregor Craigie spoke with Ry Moran, the University of Victoria's first Associate Director of Libraries -Reconciliation, about integrating Indigenous ways of knowing and being into their archives and collections. 9:36

With files from On The Island

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