New ROAAr Podcast Explores Untold Stories in the McGill Library and Archives


Published: 9Sep2021
voices from the footnotes over a waveform of that text
Image by Jacquelyn Sundberg.

Welcome to Voices from the Footnotes. In this podcast we will explore some of the hidden histories at the McGill University Library and Archives, looking at places, people, and artifacts. The library and archival collections are rich and fascinating, but this series flows from the silences and absences that are also present. Join us as we explore the voices and stories from the Footnotes. Highlights include:

Episode 1: Did you know that McGill also owns some land in Mont St. Hilaire? It’s called the Gault Nature Reserve. This episode will focus on the beautiful land and waters of the Gault Reserve, what we know about its history based on McGill’s archives, and how it is used today especially by McGill’s First Peoples' House. The first episode, entitled “The Gault Nature Reserve,” delves into what we know about the history of the land at Mont St. Hilaire. From records in the McGill University Archives, librarian/archivist Adria Seccareccia traced the ownership history of this forest haven. Beginning in 1694, when the land was granted to the first Sieur de Rouville. Of course, the story of this land is much longer than that. The Abenaki nation are the original stewards of this land; however the narrative preserved in the archives reflects the colonialist settler perspective. The French seigneurial system and its practice of issuing land grants leaves us with a one-sided and limited history of this land. In this first episode, host Sheetal speaks with Adria and special guests Paige Isaac, Allan Vicaire, and Tanya Lalonde, to share the history and stories of this special place. Hear about the ways that the McGill Community has found a connection with the Gault Nature reserve, especially through efforts of McGill’s First People’s House.

Episode 5 - Finding Where We Belong; Indigenous Perspectives at McGill: In this episode, current and former staff of McGill’s First Peoples’ House discuss the various hurdles faced by Indigenous students in higher education. Interviewees also share how staff and tailored programming provide much-needed support to students and help them build community, foster a sense of belonging, and achieve academic success. For today’s episode, we issue a trigger warning in that we discuss some sensitive issues pertaining to colonialism, mental health, and suicide.

Episode 11 - Generations, Part I: What has changed since the 1940s for Black students and staff at McGill? In this episode, we talk with Beryl Dickinson-Dash (now Rapier) and two pairs of fathers and daughters who were students, faculty, or staff – or all of the above – at McGill. Hear about a lot of firsts and the unique challenges faced by Black students and staff in the first half of this two-part episode.

Episode 14 - Generations, Part II: What has changed since the 1940s for Black students and staff at McGill? In part 2 of the Generations episode, we shift to more contemporary perspectives. We hear mostly from the daughters, Adrienne Piggott and Brittany Willians. They discuss community, belonging, and safe spaces on campus. The episode also focuses on the fight for equity, and the institutional challenges and obstacles that come with it.

Episode 15 - Carnival Queens: This episode we speak with royalty, McGill royalty to be precise. Step back in time to 1949, 1951 and 1958, as Beryl Rapier, Dorothy Baxter and Rae Tucker Rambally bring us back to mid-century McGill Winter Carnival days as they relive their experiences with the carnival pageant.

Listen now: Episodes available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify. Find out more on the website:

Contact Information

Jacquelyn Sundberg
roaar.librar [at]

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