Donations document Chilean Experience in Alberta

Edmonton’s Chilean community is donating a treasure trove of records to the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

Minister Miranda, MLA Loyola and MP Linda Duncan (at podium) with members of the Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton.

The donations, collected and created by members of the Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton, include posters and event material, newspapers, bulletins, research and analysis files, and audio and television recordings documenting their personal experiences about life as refugees in Alberta.

“Preserving history is so important, and the Provincial Archives of Alberta serves as the collective memory of our province, and tells Alberta’s story. It is important to acknowledge the donations from the Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton because it shows how diverse our story is: to learn about their struggles and triumphs, and celebrate the contributions they’ve made to help make Alberta a better place.”

~Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism

The Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton has been providing educational, artistic and organizational opportunities for the Latin American community in diaspora in Edmonton for decades. They regularly host events to raise awareness of human rights and recognize important events in Latin American culture. The society chose to make the donation today to kick off a week of events commemorating the 45th anniversary of the 1973 Pinochet coup d’état, an event that drove many Chileans to flee their country to avoid persecution. Many settled in Alberta.

“President Salvador Allende said that ‘history is made by the people.’ Since our arrival in Edmonton after the 1973 Pinochet coup d’état, we have made our own history. We are thankful for having the opportunity to have this history archived as it will serve as a documentation of the ongoing struggle of a community that continues to make life better for people in Canada and the rest of Latin America.”

~Sergio Olivares, president, Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton

This is the largest donation of Spanish-language material to the Provincial Archives of Alberta. The collection will help families, historians and researchers understand the trials and tribulations of Chilean refugees, as well as the history and contributions of the Memoria Viva Society to the Latin American community in Alberta.

Find out how you can donate records to the PAA or how to preserve personal records at home.

Quick facts

  • From 1973 to 1978, more than 8,300 people came to Canada from Chile, with the majority settling in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.
  • There are more than 45,000 people in Canada who identify as being of Chilean descent, and more than 8,000 of them live in Alberta.
  • The Provincial Archives acquires, preserves and makes publicly available historical records from government, individuals and organizations for researchers of all ages.
  • The Provincial Archives acquires textual records, photographs, negatives, slides, films, videos, sound, recordings and cartographic records such as maps and plans.
  • Besides preserving valuable historic records, the Provincial Archives expert staff clean, repair and provide special storage for records that have deteriorated over the years and require unique preservation.