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Within Canada, many museums have recognized the importance of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as the need to respond to actions taken by religious organizations and our federal government in a respectful way. In a webinar recently, it was suggested that we are still working on the ‘truth’ piece. In the last couple of years I have read Indian Horse, Seven Fallen Fathers and From the Ashes, three very different books about the stories of multiple generations of indigenous families.  However difficult these stories have been to read, it has helped me see the history of our indigenous peoples in a different way.
Update – August 13 – I wanted to pass along to other resources to my network and colleagues who are on a learning journey to better understand our indigenous peoples.  In a webinar that I attended this afternoon, Wanda Nanibush shared two additional resources to the three books that I mentioned above:
  1. Online course on Indigenous Canada
  2. Canadian History books by indigenous authors

When I was in Ottawa lately, I was remarking on how the Museum of Civilization has gone through a couple of different name changes  to my friends and I was wondering what it should be called next. It is currently called the Museum of History. Based on this discussion and reflection, I was very interested to see a museum in San Diego changing its name from Museum of Man to Museum of Us effective August 2nd, 2020.
The Museum of Us website shows their four guiding principles for decolonization initiatives as: – Truth telling and accountability – Rethinking ownership – Organizational culture shift supported by systems and policy – Indigenous Representation https://bit.ly/3gWoCpu with reference to Dr. Lonetree’s book Decolonizing Museums.
In this link from Jstor, we find further details behind Dr. Lonetree’s process from work with three museums (Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Mille Lacs Indian Museum in Minnesota, and the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways in Michigan), leading to solutions to “historical and contemporary museum practices and charts possible paths for the future curation and presentation of Native lifeways.”

Post Author: Victoria Stasiuk