Imagine if in 25, 50, 75 or even 100 years we wanted to write a history of the Ukrainian Canadian community in Canada – what would we use to describe the community and its activities and achievements? Where would we look for that information? How would we know that it is credible and accurate?
Archival records – documentary heritage – are created to document an event, people, places, and information, as evidence for a future reminder of a decision or action taken, an activity or responsibility performed of an individual, organization, institution or community. These records are tools that are used to remember and understand the context as well as the action taken which, if looked at collectively, form the portrait of a community at any given point in time. We can think of archives as a community’s collective memory. They are evidence and have enduring value for historical, sometimes, legal and sometimes financial reasons and therefore, are an important asset for any organization. Archival records – documentary heritage when preserved provides a glimpse of how the present has been shaped by the past, and provides a foundation from which the future develops. Therefore, if we want to paint a true picture of the Ukrainian Canadian community and their contribution to the broader Canadian society, the greater diaspora community and its relationship with Ukraine, we must seriously consider preserving our documentary heritage for the future. If we do not then how can we write a credible factual history of the Ukrainian Canadian community in 25, 50, 75 or 100 years?
What is created today in our documents like minutes, project summaries, reports, newspaper articles, photos, videos, and an array of electronic records, that show our actions, decisions and activities should be able to paint the credible picture of today’s society, what we value and what we have accomplished for the future. If we do not preserve and take care of these records what will future generations know of the Ukrainian Canadian community?
This article was prepared by the UCC National Archives Committee. To read more about the Committee, click here.