The BC Museums Association is proud to receive guidance and support from the BCMA Indigenous Advisory Committee.
The BCMA Indigenous Advisory Committee is comprised of leaders from BC’s First Nations and from museums that have shown excellence and innovation in working with Indigenous communities.
The Indigenous Advisory Committee is a stand-alone committee with a role to champion the Rod Naknakim Declaration (see below). The Committee also services as a resource for BCMA Council and staff. Of particular importance is the Committee’s role in identifying and building relationships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders to facilitate reconciliation opportunities.
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 (UNDRIP). He suggested four specific steps museums, archives, and cultural institutions can take to work in partnership with 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, but his voice, ideas, friendship, and legacy live on.
We call upon all cultural organizations to embrace the ideals of the Rod Naknakim Declaration, signal your support of building shared visions and partnerships with Indigenous communities, and sign the Rod Naknakim Declaration.
Indigenous Advisory Committee Members:
BCMA Indigenous Advisory Committee – Terms of Reference 2020
Approved by BCMA Council on March 6, 2020
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:
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.
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.
The Committee consists of a minimum of six members appointed by Council as follows:
Duties and Responsibilities
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.
The committee meets quarterly. Meetings take place in person or via telephone conferencing with a minimum of one face-to-face meeting annually.
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 Committee’s terms of reference.
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) has been working on plans to address recommendations related to museums in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission findings.
The provincial government provided $2 million in funding to the Royal BC Museum in 2016 to help return First Nations artifacts to their communities. The activities undertaken by the museum included a provincewide repatriation symposium, a granting program, digital repatriation programs, community work and the creation of Canada’s first repatriation handbook for Indigenous peoples by Indigenous peoples.
The Royal BC Museum’s head of the First Nations department and Repatriation program sits on the BCMA Indigenous Advisory Council to ensure the committee is working collaboratively with the provincial museum.
The integration of the BCMA Indigenous Advisory Committee created 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 modified its existing professional hub programs and initiatives (including the annual Conference, regional workshops, and webinars) 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 is also collaborating with partner organizations including the BC Libraries Association, the Archives Association of BC, and Heritage BC on programming to support the learning needs of our respective members.