AJC Statement on Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

The Archive of the Jesuits in Canada (AJC) is committed to shedding light on the truth about the encounters and relationships between Jesuits and Indigenous communities. The AJC is committed to ensuring that its holdings that speak to Indigenous populations are available to Indigenous researchers.

The AJC leans on the Statement of Reconciliation of the Jesuits in English Canada enacted during the Truth and Reconciliation event held in Montreal on April 25, 2013. Pronounced by Winston Rye, S.J., speaking on behalf of the Jesuits in English Canada and addressed to Indigenous nations, the Act stipulates that we pledge our support in the rebuilding of your language and culture. We cannot undo the things that are done, but we can take positive and meaningful steps to rebuild.

We have opened our Archives so that the whole picture of the Residential Schools can be seen. We will unlock the doors to the ancient books that preserved the languages of the First Nations […] These precious resources will never be again the exclusive property of white scholars and academics.

We pledge our support in the rebuilding of your language and culture. We cannot undo the things that are done, but we can take positive and meaningful steps to rebuild.

In addition to drawing upon the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action, the AJC takes into account the declarations and recommendations from various national and international instances to ameliorate archival practices that concern Indigenous populations. The AJC relies on the International Council of Archives’ Tandanya-Adelaide Declaration and on The Steering Committee on Canada’s Archives Reconciliation Framework Response to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce.

The AJC is committed to developing measures and methods anchored in the strategic orientations of the archival discipline and contemporary archival theory in order to transform archival practices, particularly regarding archival description and the sharing of information that concerns Indigenous peoples. Through its activities, services, and interventions, the AJC supports Indigenous resurgence.

Île Manitoulin

Mission Statement

The Archive of the Jesuits in Canada witnesses the activity of all Jesuits who worked in this country and in its foreign missions since the arrival of the first companions in 1611. It recalls the memory of their living faith, of their efforts, of their spiritual values, and of their institutions.

The Archive serves the ongoing administration of the Jesuits of Canada which includes Haiti. Its role is also to ensure the acquisition of documents, books, and works of art as well as appropriate historical artifacts relating to Canadian Jesuit history: to preserve them, to render them accessible, and to make them known.

As steward of the collective memory of all Canadian Jesuits, the Archive demonstrates innovative leadership to facilitate access to its collections. It provides a functional working environment equipped with the resources necessary for research and creativity.

The Archive brings life to the past. It was established to encourage and, in the Jesuit way of proceeding, to stimulate free research and collaboration among scholars, teachers and students. It fosters the preparation of publications, symposia, and exhibitions which lead to a better understanding of Jesuit identity and of the Society’s cultural and spiritual patrimony.

History of The Archive of the Jesuits in Canada

This section presents milestones in the institutional history of The Archive of the Jesuits in Canada. Here, researchers can learn how the collection was built and discover how it reflects the Society of Jesus’ history in New France and Canada.

For more information, you can read the article written by John D. Meehan, S.J. on the historiography of Jesuits in Canada since 1842.

Cover page of a Relation written by Paul le Jeune, S.J.
Cover page of a Relation written by Paul le Jeune, S.J.

The Mission

At first precarious, and subsequently established as a Mission, the early centuries of Jesuit presence in New France and Canada were administered by French Provinces.

Although a few original documents, including some dating back to the time of the Canadian Martyrs, remained in Quebec, most systematic reporting documents and the personal papers of returning missionaries were archived in the home Provinces in France. The documents that survived are therefore held largely at the Archives des jésuites de France in Vanves.

The Collection

The AJC provides an access point to its collections, as well as resources concerning the history of the Jesuits in Canada. It supports the research of members of the Jesuit community, genealogists, academic researchers, Indigenous researchers, artists, and students from a variety of disciplines.

The archival collection holds more than 1.5 km of textual records, more than 500,000 photographs, more than a thousand maps and cartographic material, hundreds of audio-visual records, as well as born-digital records.

The Library and Rare Books collection contains more than 37,000 books and other published material, including 1,500 rare books.

The Art and Artifacts Collection includes objects and artworks that testify to the range of activities of Jesuits in Canada and abroad.

Library and Rare Books

The Library and Rare Books collection contains more than 37,000 books and other published material, including 1,500 rare books.

The collection reflects the activities of Francophone and Anglophone Jesuits on Canadian territory from the time of the Society’s arrival in New France in 1611 to the present day. The Library has been assembled from the collections of the former archives of the two Canadian Jesuit provinces, and from the collections of various Jesuit houses and institutions.

The Library acquires new materials in French and English. It also acquires old and rare books that relate to Canadian Jesuit history. The AJC Library is a rich collection that can be conveniently consulted in the Félix Martin, SJ Reading Room.

AJC Team

  • François Dansereau

    Director

    François has been with the AJC since 2020. He has been the Director since August…

    François has been with the AJC since 2020. He has been the Director since August 2022. François is also a Course Lecturer at the McGill University School of Information Studies.

  • Christiane Desjardins

    Archivist – Iconography and Imaging

    Christiane began working for the AJC in 2018. Her duties include digitization, digital asset management,…

    Christiane began working for the AJC in 2018. Her duties include digitization, digital asset management, managing the artifact collection, and working on exhibition curation.

  • Catherine Barnwell

    Archivist

    Catherine joined the AJC in 2019 as a Young Canada Works intern. Her main responsibilities…

    Catherine joined the AJC in 2019 as a Young Canada Works intern. Her main responsibilities include handling researcher inquiries, but she also processes archival fonds and collections. Catherine also works on special projects, such as exhibition curation.

  • Ginelle Chagnon

    Administrative Coordinator (part-time)

    Ginnelle Chagnon has been with the AJC since 2016. Ginelle is responsible for coordination and…

    Ginnelle Chagnon has been with the AJC since 2016. Ginelle is responsible for coordination and supervision in the Consultation Room, as well as working on collections management and special projects.