Making Historical Records Accessible to First Nations: Colonial Despatches

Colonial Despatches

As the only digital archive of the correspondence between British authorities and the governors of Vancouver Island and British Columbia from 1846-1871, the Colonial Despatches contain many historically significant records about the settling of Victoria and Vancouver Island.

This ongoing project has been a partnership between UVic Libraries, the Faculty of Humanities, and many other supporters and contributors over the past decades.  The free, online database contains many historically significant records about the settling of Victoria and Vancouver Island. However, most of these documents are largely inaccessible to researchers and particularly Indigenous peoples. In mid-December, UVic Libraries was the recipient of a substantial grant by the Victoria Foundation (matched dollar for dollar by an internal programme) to help us decolonize the “Colonial Despatches.” 

Through this Victoria Foundation grant we will, in collaboration and consultation with the First People's Cultural Council and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, begin work to decolonize the archive by developing enhanced and revised search terms, along with a newly engineered search interface.