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Digitally Preserving Indian Residential Schools

image of Digitally Preserving Indian Schools
Digitally Preserving Indian Schools

It was the summer of 2020 and Many Bears, then a student at Old Sun, was working closely with University of Calgary archaeologist Dr. Peter Dawson, whose research focuses on digitally preserving at-risk sites of historical significance. Using terrestrial laser scanners and drones, along with historic photos and interviews with residential school survivors, Dawson and his team — which includes Dr. Derek Lichti (Geomatics Engineering) and Faramarz Samavati (Computer Science) — have created an accurate 3D digital record of the former residential school.

From an article in UCalgary News by Heath McCoy.

The project also includes the digital preservation of former residential school buildings University nuhelot’ine thaiyots’i nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills in St. Paul, Alta., and Poundmaker’s Lodge Carriage House, which once formed part of the Edmonton Indian Residential School in St. Albert and was lost to a fire in 2000.

This Digital Preservation of Indian Residential Schools Project has been led and guided by advisory committees made up of community members from all three locations, including survivors from each of the residential schools. The project has also engaged Indigenous youth from the current colleges, giving students like Many Bears hands-on learning opportunities.

Now, thanks to a generous $75,000 donation from Imperial, Dawson, PhD’98, and his team are embarking on the second phase of the project, to digitally document the original grounds surrounding the three residential schools using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) mapping and mobile laser scanners.

For the complete article on digitally preserving Indian schools CLICK HERE.

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