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Family Stories

“When was the last time you talked with your parents before you met up with them for Thanksgiving? A survey by a company that writes family biographies says a quarter of Americans go more than a month without speaking with their folks, and now could be the best time to start gathering an oral history.” This story is about American Thanksgiving, but could be applied also to Christmas. Read more.

Native Americans’ Stories

When I was sixteen years old, I took what was essentially my first trip to Indian Country. I rode the train north across Ontario and on to Winnipeg. Crowds shuffled in and out at stops in small towns along the way. With each stop, more and more blue- and green-eyed passengers departed until almost all eyes remaining were dark brown. Skin became darker too. I looked around at the other Native passengers for signs of recognition. I remember thinking that they saw in my eyes what few people ever did—that I was one of them. Read full story here.

The Story of Seeds

78 percent of the world’s seeds are now owned by three companies, and it’s those companies who decide which ones to make available to the public. 
That’s quite a turnaround from America’s early years, when the U.S. government was giving billions of seeds away for free. But it’s not just the variety of seeds being lost, it’s also the history that those seeds represent.  Read full story here.

Legacy of Nuclear Testing in Marshall Islands

The nuclear legacy in the Marshall Islands is having a lingering effect on the handing down of the country’s oral history.  An investigation by the Los Angeles Times examined the high rates of thyroid cancers in the Marshall Islands, where the US detonated dozens of nuclear weapons in the 1940s and ’50s. See full article, including interview here.

Studs Terkel Radio Archive

“Hello everyone! It has been awhile since the last newsletter but the Studs Terkel Radio Archive is still alive and kicking, just as Studs would have wanted. We’re constantly adding new, fully digitized and freely available conversations to our website. Of the around 300 boxes of audio tapes we initially had, only 50 remain for conversion! Here’s just 3 of the terrific conversations we’ve added over the past few months.” This is a great project, see full story here

Aberfan Mining Disaster

“For history buffs, the title card at the beginning of The Crown Season 3, Episode 3—“Aberfan, Wales”—will provoke an instant sense of dread. But for most viewers, particularly in the United States, this episode will serve as an introduction to one of the most devastating incidents in modern British history. As chronicled in the horrifying episode, the 1966 Aberfan mining disaster killed 144 people, most of them children, and became a moment of public reckoning for the queen. Here’s what you need to know about the real story behind the episode.” For full story with a link to the BBC’s exhaustive oral history of this tragedy, click here.

Voices from the Skeena

Settlers called it the Skeena, but this mighty river, B.C.’s second longest, has been known for millennia as the Xsien, “the juice of the clouds,” by the Tsimshian and Gitxsan peoples. It flows 570 km from the sacred headwaters of the Spatszi plateau south and west to Spokechute/Port Essington, where it joins the sea. Read the full article which includes a link to the accompanying website with more audio interviews here.

Migration Heritage Project

2019 marks the beginning of many anniversaries associated with the construction and opening of migrant workers camps and hostels and the arrival of the first post World War 2 migrants to our region, commencing with the 70th anniversary of the opening of the first migrant Hostel in Unanderra, following in 2020 with the 70th anniversary of the commencement of the construction of the Balgownie Hostel and in 2021 the 70th anniversary of the first influx of migrants to the Balgownie Hostel and the operation of Berkeley Hostel. For full story click here.