Her life was steeped in classical music, but Ida Halpern was passionate about the songs of British Columbia's Indigenous people, music she set out to prove was equal to that of Bach and Mozart.
Halpern's more than 500 recordings, transcriptions and handwritten notes comprise a unique Indigenous collection at the Royal B.C. Museum. The work was recently nominated for a United Nations world memory program designation to safeguard cultural treasures against neglect, destruction and collective amnesia.
Some of the songs are available to the public in digital form while many others are part of what is an ongoing effort by the museum to reconnect the music with their communities, says museum archivist Genevieve Weber.