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Indigenous Anti-Colonial Uses of Museum Collections

  • 1.  Indigenous Anti-Colonial Uses of Museum Collections

    Posted 04-10-2023 10:23 AM

    Dear Colleagues: [Indulgence coveted for cross-posting]

    The Canadian Museum Association's (CMA) 128-page Moved to Action: Activating UNDRIP in Canadian Museums A Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action #67 report makes extensive recommendations for museum remedial work to address problems in historic & ongoing relations with Indigenous peoples.  

    This "call to action" arises from the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples & a specific direction for the CMA in the 2015 report of the Canadian Truth & Reconciliation Commission created to study the federal government's removal of Indigenous children from their home communities to be schooled by churches, to redress the legacy of these "Indian Residential Schools," & to advance the process of Canadian society reconciliation with the survivors damaged by this colonial directed culture change project.

    67. We call upon the federal government to provide funding to the Canadian Museums Association to undertake, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, a national review of museum policies and best practices to determine the level of compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to make recommendations.

     

    As stated in Moved to Action, "Museums have, from their preliminary existence, been part of the colonial project" (Danyluk & Mackenzie 2022: 4).

    In response, the 6 April Critical Museology Miscellanea blog post gives some additional perspective focussed on the positive outcomes of museum collecting practices for Indigenous peoples.

    The 'big idea' in this post is that-despite the serious difficulties enumerated by Moved to Action-museums can & do provide opportunity for ongoing Indigenous resistance to the colonial assimilationist project, leading to cultural revival & the renaissance of self-determination. 

     

    See "An Alternate Analysis of Museum Collecting Indigenous Materials: Some Small Measure of Balance" at https://miscellaneousmuseology.wordpress.com/2023/04/06/

     

    Thanks for thinking about these matters.
     
    Respectfully yours
     
    Paul C. Thistle
     
    Reference Cited:
     
    Danyluk, Stephanie & MacKenzie, Rebecca. 2022. Moved to Action: Activating UNDRIP in Canadian Museums A Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action #67. Ottawa: Canadian Museums Association at https://www.museums.ca/site/movedtoaction OR https://museums.ca/uploaded/web/TRC_2022/Report-CMA-MovedToAction.pdf  (accessed 8 April 2023).


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    Paul C.Thistle
    Director/Curator (retired)
    Stratford, Ontario
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