The Advocate's Archive: The Walter Rudnicki Fonds and the Fight for Indigenous Rights

Walter Rudnicki fonds, Hamilton Spectator newspaper clipping, 1979, Mss 331 (A10-38.1), Box 20, Folder 1, Item 55, Page 9

Walter Rudnicki fonds, Hamilton Spectator newspaper clipping, 1979, Mss 331 (A10-38.1), Box 20, Folder 1, Item 55, Page 9

 

 It’s difficult to imagine what you could say about me – except possibly that I’m one of those blue-eyed Indians who always seems to be at odds with ‘the establishment.’

(Correspondence with Kahn-Tineta Horn, November 29, 1968, MSS 331 (A10- 38), Box 43, Folder. 3, Item 1, Page 1) 

 

This online exhibit explores the significant role Walter Rudnicki played in the expansion of Indigenous rights in Canada through his commitment to both advocacy and archival records. Rudnicki took on the role of archivist by actively collecting and disseminating information documenting government-Indigenous relations throughout the 20th century. During eighteen years as a high-level civil servant and the decades that followed as a consultant for various First Nations, Metis, and Inuit communities, Rudnicki collected, organized, and preserved records relevant to the pursuit and assertion of Indigenous rights.

 

From the 1950’s, Rudnicki used his archive to document the failures of government to respond to the growing concerns of Indigenous peoples. Examining select events in his decades-long career reveals an understanding of the evidentiary value of both historic and contemporary records, and of the ways records can be used to agitate government procedure and support Indigenous causes.

 


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