Indigenous B.C. treaties, recordings on first Canadian UNESCO memory register

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s first Indigenous treaties and decades-old recordings of traditional First Nations songs have been added to Canada’s first national memory register.

The pre-Confederation Douglas treaties, which are some of the only signed land-claims agreements in B.C., were on display today at an induction ceremony at the Royal B.C. Museum.

A mother, son and uncle form Vancouver Island performed the songs — originally recorded in the 1940s by musicologist Ida Halpern — at the ceremony.

Royal B.C. Museum chief executive officer Jack Lohman says the B.C. items are the first historical materials west of Winnipeg to make it into the national memory archive.

The Canada Memory of the World Register is part of a United Nations program that encourages preservation of documentary heritage.

Seven Canadian items, including the works of communications pioneer Marshall McLuhan and documents chronicling the discovery of insulin, are already part of UNESCO’s World Memory Program, but were also added to the new Canadian register.

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