The Canadian chief archivist has ordered the removal of content that is considered “offensive” on thousands of National Archives web pages, according to internal documents obtained through a request for access to information. Blackrock reporter..
“Much of the content on the Library and Archives Canada website reflects when it was written,” wrote Chief Archivist Leslie Weir in an email to staff obtained by BlackRock.
“We understand that much of this outdated historical content no longer reflects today’s context and can be offensive to many.”
In an email dated June 9, 2021, Weir suggested that “content that could offend people” include a disclaimer, calling the issue an “emergency situation.”
The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) website says “Update your web presence, ”A link will appear at the top of each page of the site. A “multi-year project” for reviewing over 7,000 web pages is underway and has a section on content removal.
“Our current website contains information that was written many years ago,” he says. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t always reflect our diverse and multicultural country, it often shows only one side of Canada’s history. LAC is one of our online presences. We admit that the department is uncomfortable and we continue to fix these issues. “
In an internal email received by Blacklock, LAC staff seem confused about how to respond to Weir’s drastic instructions and remove the offending content.
“The only direction we received from Leslie was’offensive content’,” said one manager.
Another manager asked if there was a definition of “offensive content,” and a colleague replied, “This is not the way to do this.”
“Leslie asked us to remove all” offensive “content from our website,” wrote Rebecca Geesbrecht, Deputy Manager of Public Services. “We are scrambling today to identify what it is with a rough set of criteria.”
“Flag anything that lacks an indigenous perspective, or ignores or rejects the impact of colonialism on indigenous peoples, Inuit, and Métis nations,” writes Giesbrecht.
According to BlackRock, some of the removed content includes an essay celebrating Sir John A. McDonald, the first Canadian Prime Minister, and an article about a French explorer who “lacks an indigenous perspective.” increase.
The media also reported that the reference to the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 was paraphrased as “Rebellion of 1885” and that the web function for the War of 1812 was “completely removed”.
“There is a bigger conversation about whether all interpreted content needs to be removed immediately,” the manager wrote in a staff email on June 10. “We have identified many potentially problematic sites, but we still have a lot to do.”
LAC on March 2nd statement Regarding the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Weir pondered the important role that libraries and archives play as “essential pillars of democracy.”
“It is often said that the first victims of war are true,” she writes.
“Tomorrow and today, national public records held by institutions such as libraries and archives are important pillars of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”