The BC Museums Association is proud to receive guidance and support from the BCMA Indigenous Advisory Council.

The BCMA Indigenous Advisory Council is comprised of leaders from BC’s First Nations and from museums that have shown excellence and innovation in working with Indigenous communities.  The council meets quarterly.

The Indigenous Advisory Council is a stand-alone committee with a role to champion the Rod Naknakim Declaration (see below).  The council also services as a resource for BCMA Council and staff.  Of particular importance will be the council’s role in identifying and building relationships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders to facilitate reconciliation opportunities.

Indigenous Advisory Committee Members:
  • Dan Smith, Member of the Laich Kwil Tach Nation and Campbell River Indian Band, BCMA Council member (Committee Chair)
  • Karen Aird, Archaeologist and Cultural Heritage Planner and President, Indigenous Heritage Circle
  • Lucy Bell, Head of First Nations and Repatriation, Royal BC Museum
  • Jordan Coble, Cultural and Operations Administrator, Westbank First Nation Sncəwips Heritage Museum
  • Tracey Herbert, Chief Executive Officer, First People’s Cultural Council
  • Dr. Anthony Shelton, Director, Museum of Anthropology at UBC

 

Click here to view the committee’s terms of reference

BCMA Indigenous Advisory Committee – Terms of Reference (DRAFT)

 

1. Background

The Canadian and British Columbia governments have recognized the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) making a commitment to implement them.

In March 2017, BCMA Council unanimously endorsed the Rod Naknakim Declaration as outlined below:

  1. Museums acknowledge the fact that the ownership of First Nations artifacts and remains is in the Indigenous peoples;
  2. Acknowledge there is an opportunity for museums to decolonize the museums by partnering with the Indigenous owners;
  3. The new relationship must result in a space in which there is greater respect and effect for Indigenous peoples and a more authentic experience for museum goers;
  4. Costs for repatriation of artifacts and remains should not be born by the Indigenous peoples

Museums have played a key role in the collection and interpretation of Indigenous tangible and intangible cultural heritage, and have a responsibility moving forward to ensure compliance with UNDRIP and to respond to the calls to action addressed to museums in the TRC. BC museums, cultural centres and heritage organizations are uniquely positioned to play a key role in reconciliation initiatives.

This work aligns with the BCMA’s mission (“We lead by supporting, empowering and advocating for the BC museum community”); our vision (“The museum community is valued for providing cultural leadership, influence and knowledge to British Columbians”) and our strategic priorities, particularly as a professional hub for the sector.

 

2. Mandate

The Committee will support the BCMA to build relationships with Indigenous museums, heritage and cultural centres across British Columbia in order to better understand, support and advocate for these Indigenous stakeholders. In addition, the committee will support the BCMA in the effort to increase cultural competency across the museums sector and promote opportunities for reconciliation and repatriation.

The Committee’s role is to provide governance (oversight) and strategic advice. The Committee does not make decisions at an administrative and operational level. These decisions are supervised and directed by the Executive Director.

 

3. Membership/Composition

The Committee consists of a minimum of six members appointed by Council as follows:

  • The Committee is chaired by an Indigenous person who is also a member of BCMA Council or co-chaired by an Indigenous and non-indigenous person
  • The President is a member of the Committee;
  • Indigenous peoples who are a BCMA member, are a member or employed by a member organization of the BCMA or otherwise involved in the arts, culture and heritage sector;
  • Non-Indigenous peoples who have expertise or knowledge in Indigenous culture and heritage or are a member or employed by an Indigenous Cultural Centre or organization;
  • The Executive Director is an ex-officio member of the committee and does not have voting rights.

Each committee member is appointed for a four-year term.

 

4. Duties and Responsibilities

  • Work in concert with BCMA office to provide shape BCMA’s Indigenous Engagement strategy
  • Identify and build relationships with Indigenous and non-indigenous stakeholders;
  • Develop an outreach plan and value proposition that encourages First Nations Cultural Centres and other organizations to encourage them to become BCMA members;
  • Address issues of repatriation and reconciliation within the BCMA community (members and stakeholders) by:
    • Championing the Rod Naknakim Declaration;
    • Providing practical advice and support to BCMA members, including working with BCMA staff to create communication tools that facilitate collaboration and information sharing between members (e.g. email address to reach the Committee for advice, creation of Indigenous interest group on BCMA website / listserv);
    • Facilitating reconciliation opportunities by building connections between Indigenous communities and BCMA members;
  • Identify and recommend funding sources to support BCMA’s Indigenous Engagement Strategy.

 

5. Reporting

The Indigenous Advisory Committee reports to the BCMA Council. The chair of the Indigenous Advisory Committee is expected to provide a verbal or written report to Council following each advisory committee meeting.

 

6. Meeting

The committee meets quarterly. Meetings will take place in person or via telephone conferencing with a minimum of one face-to-face meeting annually.


Please click the sections below to read more about the documents and initiatives guiding the BCMA and the Indigenous Advisory Council’s reconciliation and sector support work.

Rod Naknakim Declaration

In March 2017, BCMA Council unanimously endorsed the Rod Naknakim Declaration. Rod Naknakim of the We Wai Kai Nation presented at the 2016 BCMA annual conference during the plenary session entitled: “Museums and Canada’s First Nations: A Moral and Legal Obligation – The Colonial Legacy.” During his moving presentation Rod discussed the opportunity for museums, archives and Indigenous peoples to work together to realize the goals set out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He suggested four specific steps museums, archives and cultural institutions can take to work in partnership with Indigenous peoples:

  1. Museums acknowledge the fact that the ownership of First Nations artifacts and remains is in the Indigenous peoples;
  2. Acknowledge there is an opportunity for museums to decolonize the museums by partnering with the Indigenous owners;
  3. The new relationship must result in a space in which there is greater respect and effect for Indigenous peoples and a more authentic experience for museum goers;
  4. Costs for repatriation of artifacts and remains should not be born by the Indigenous peoples.

Throughout his presentation Rod acknowledged the challenges and complexities of collaboration, but urged the audience to build relationships and seek out advice as they work toward a shared vision and commitment to Indigenous language, heritage and cultural partnership with First Nations communities. Sadly, Rod passed away on March 9, 2017.

The BCMA is excited to move forward with the Rod Naknakim Declaration in 2017, a year that naturally leads to reflection and looking to the future.  2017 marks the BCMA’s 60th anniversary, as well as the Canada 150th anniversary of confederation.  Reconciliation has been a key theme of both anniversaries.

2017 also saw the BCMA administer the BC | Canada 150: Celebrating BC Communities and their Contributions to Canada grant, which saw a variety of projects from First Nations band councils, cultural centres and museums receive funding.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007. Canada initially voted against it but reversed its position in May 2016. The declaration is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world and it elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples.

UNDRIP content and recommendations have been incorporated into the Rod Naknakim Declaration and the Indigenous Advisory Council’s terms of reference.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

In 2009, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada began a multi-year process to listen to Survivors, communities and others affected by the Residential School system. The TRC issued a report with calls to action including four items (#67-71) specifically for the museum and archives community. The work of the TRC is now being carried out by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

TRC Calls to Action for museum and archives have been incorporated into the Rod Naknakim Declaration and guide the BCMA’s support of the BC museum sector’s reconciliation work.

The Canadian Museums Association (CMA) is working on plans to address recommendations related to museums in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission findings.

Province of British Columbia

The provincial government announced $2 million in funding in 2016 to help return First Nations artifacts to their communities. The Royal BC Museum will act as a gathering point for returning objects and the First People’s Cultural Council will work closely with the museum to develop a new First Nations department and repatriation program.

The Royal BC Museum’s head of the First Nations department and Repatriation program will sit on the BCMA Indigenous Advisory Council to ensure the committee is closely aligned and working collaboratively with the provincial museum.

Training and Capacity Building for BCMA Members

The integration of the BCMA Indigenous Advisory Council creates an excellent opportunity for the BCMA to provide leadership to its member museums by providing tools and resources that help build relationships with First Nations communities and address issues of repatriation and reconciliation in their institutions and communities.  The BCMA is modifying existing “Professional Hub” programs and initiatives (including Conference, regional workshops, webinars and the mentorship program) to integrate First Nations content with a focus on meaningful and practical ways BCMA members can develop relationships with First Nations and contribute to reconciliation and repatriation efforts.

The BCMA will also collaborate with partner organizations including the BC Library Association, Archives Association of BC, and Heritage BC on programming to support the learning needs of our respective members.