Who is taking care of history?
It’s the theme of the B.C. Historical Federation’s annual conference, June 6-9 at various locations in the Comox Valley.
The federation’s AGM will be held Saturday morning at the Native Sons Hall in Courtenay. It will be followed by a presentation — Not Just Stones and Beads — which will look at new strategies to recognize and conserve Indigenous heritage.
“I’m going to be talking about the definition of Indigenous cultural heritage, through a series of national roundtables, and the work that was involved in coming up with this very difficult term to describe,” said Karen Aird, heritage manager at the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. “In many Indigenous languages, there is no definition, there is no word for cultural heritage. It’s usually described as sacred or a sense of place, or a place that’s worthy. It’s often associated with landscapes, so it often has no connection to heritage.”
Aird is a founding director and president of the National Indigenous Heritage Circle, a non-profit organization focused on the identification, management and conservation of Indigenous heritage.
“We decided to form this national, non-profit to create an inclusive voice, an opportunity for Indigenous people,” she said.
Aird is a member of the Saulteau First Nations in Treaty 8 Territory of B.C. She has worked as an archeologist and in cultural heritage management.
The conference kicks off Thursday with a welcome and registration at the Comox Air Force Museum. The weekend includes a number of speakers and tours.