Canada: $2M Launches B.C. Effort to Repatriate Indigenous Artifacts

Times Colonist 
Richard Watts, September 8, 2016

The Royal B.C. Museum and First Nations are embarking on an initiative to repatriate ancestral remains and artifacts to their rightful indigenous homes.

Premier Christy Clark announced Wednesday a $2-million commitment for the project during the Cabinet-First Nations Leaders Gathering in Vancouver.

The Royal B.C. Museum will act as a resource for First Nations peoples who are interested in seeing the return of cultural objects lodged in museums in B.C., Canada and around the world. Those objects were often taken away without the permission of First Nations.

Jack Lohman, director of the Royal B.C. Museum, said the museum will join forces with indigenous peoples, but they will take the lead. “This whole process will be guided by and led by indigenous peoples.”

One of the first steps will be a memorandum of understanding between the museum and the First Peoples Cultural Council, a group immersed in the preservation and revitalizing of First Nations culture, notably native languages.

The museum will act as a secretariat for native peoples to bring home sacred objects.
“It provides a very important mechanism, a significant mechanism to enable, even intensify this work,” said Lohman. “In a way, it’s attaching concrete action to empathy.”

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