Ida Halpern recordings
Ida Halpern’s records in our collection comprise 342 sound recordings, 9.75 m of textual material, 7 VHS cassette videos, 1 film and 735 photographs.
Ida Halpern is best known for recording First Nations ceremonies, songs and other traditional events marked by musical performance, at a time when the local First Nations communities were struggling to maintain their identities. Considered as recognition of community rights and relationships, the songs hold an additional significance for Aboriginal rights and title.
Halpern arrived at a propitious time to make her musical exploration. Settler society on the Northwest Coast was at the cusp of a popular appreciation for the art and culture of local First Nations communities. Further, many of the native elders Halpern recorded were willing to offer songs, naming ceremonies and other musical creations because they recognized the generational decline in the common usage of their indigenous culture.
Because of the timing of her arrival, Halpern captured an unprecedented number of recordings of valuable cultural creations from leading elders in Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, Tlingit, Haida, and Coast Salish communities.