Fonds PR4059 - Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton fonds

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Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton fonds

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    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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    • 1975-2018 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    1.12 m of textual records. – 511 photographs. – 1 negative. – 646 videocassettes. – 1 optical disc. – 9 arpilleras.

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    Administrative history

    The Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton was founded in May, 2011 with the stated mission “to serve as an educational, artistic, and organizational hub for the Latin American community in diaspora in Edmonton.” The society accomplishes this through hosting events and collecting records related to the history of Latin American communities in Edmonton.

    The roots of the organization can be traced to the arrival of Chilean refugees who came to Alberta after the Augustin Pinochet-led coup of September, 1973 in Chile. These refugees founded several organizations devoted to preserving their culture, maintaining ties to Chile, and organizing against the Pinochet government. These early groups included Tupac Amaru and the Sociedad Cultural Chileno Canadiense as well as external branches of Chilean political parties such as the Izquierda Cristiana de Chile and Popular Unitary Action Movement (MAPU). The community also established schools such as Escuela Salvador Allende and Escuela Gabriela Mistral to teach Spanish language and Chilean history and culture to younger generations growing up in Canada.

    By the 2010s, the Chilean community was well-established in Edmonton, as were several other Latin American communities. This led to the formation of the Memoria Viva Society to act as an organizing body for special events such as concerts, lectures, film screenings, and workshops devoted to the history and culture of Latin Americans and their experiences in Canada. The society maintained its progressive stance and opposition to the former Pinochet government through annual observance of the anniversary of the Pinochet coup each September 11th.

    A key function of the Memoria Viva Society is also to act as a community archives for Chilean and Latin American progressive movements in Edmonton. Members of the organization have collected records related to the arrival of Chilean refugees and their subsequent community efforts, as well as cultivating participation from the original members of the Chilean diaspora in Edmonton.

    As part of its observation of the 2018 anniversary of the Pinochet coup, the Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton donated its records to the Provincial Archives of Alberta in a ceremony featuring Minister of Culture Ricardo Miranda and Member of Legislature for Edmonton-Ellerslie Rod Loyola.

    Custodial history

    The records were created and collected by members of the Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton and subsequently donated to the Provincial Archives of Alberta in separate accessions from 2018 to 2020.

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists primarily of records collected by Memoria Viva and maintained as a community archives.

    The textual records consist of publications, bulletins, newspapers, and newsletters published by Chilean progressive organizations both in Chile and Canada. These publications were produced by organizations such as Tupac Amaru, Izquierda Cristiana de Chile (ICC), Sociedad Cultural Chileno Canadiense, Popular Unitary Action Movement (MAPU), Socialist Party of Chile, and Amigas. Publications include Canada-Chile Bulletin, Entrelineas, Bulletin Comunidad Chilena, Chileno de Corazón, Resistencia, Aqui, Venceremos, and several others.

    There are also posters and programs from events held by Memoria Viva and its predecessor organizations, files created by Monica Chavez for her 1990s community radio program Chile al Dia, Tupac Amaru administrative records, ICC administrative records, academic research papers on the Chilean community in Edmonton, and a small collection of books on Chilean politics and history.

    The photographs consist of images from Escuela Salvador Allende classes and events, sporting and cultural events (including portraits of community soccer teams), and other public events such as Heritage Days.

    The videocassettes mostly consist of master tapes of episodes of Nosotros, a community television program broadcast on Shaw Television. Founded in 1982 by Lito Azócar, the program focuses on the events, viewpoints, and history of the Latin American community in Edmonton. Many of these episodes, from 1982 to 2010, have been digitized by the University of Alberta and are hosted on its website.

    The arpilleras (Spanish for “burlap”) are a unique form of Chilean folk art consisting of fabric, embroidery, or other found materials adhered to burlap to create a picture. The construction of arpilleras was popularized during the Pinochet regime and were made mostly by collectives of women called arpilleristas. These collectives worked in Chile and abroad to create artwork that celebrated Chilean culture and to draw attention to the crimes of the Pinochet regime while also creating income for impoverished communities.

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    Language of material

    • English
    • Spanish

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      Restrictions on access

      Audiovisual records must be duplicated prior to access.

      Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

      Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

      Finding aids

      File list is not yet available. Contact reference archivist for more information.

      Associated materials

      The University of Alberta hosts digital copies of Programa Nosotros, which can be accessed here:

      Related materials


      Further accruals are expected.

      General note

      Includes the following accessions: PR2018.1120, PR2020.1130, PR2020.1140

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      Records have not yet been processed and are in the state in which they were donated.

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