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Red Ribbon Round It: How the Indian Act Enshrouds Local History

Interventionist Installation in the Museum developed by Lesley Garlow, Museum Indigenous Educator (June 21 – July 5, 2020) Photo by Kevin Underwood

Social Justice

It is understood internationally by museums, museologists, pedagogical experts, artists, curators, and researchers alike, that all museums are colonial sites rooted in a history of misrepresentation and discrimination.

For the last two decades, and especially in the last five years, museums around the world have taken steps towards changing their practices and undoing the wrongs that have been done through their methodology, collections practices, archives, curatorial practices, and artistic representations. Our current global pandemic has offered the world a chance to look even closer at how systems, including museums, have reinforced colonial and racist methods, and how working together, we can break these systems apart to better serve our community, to demand social justice, and to help create necessary change in our world.

We at Touchstones Nelson Museum understand that there is a great deal of change that needs to be done in our physical site, and in our methodology. One such example is the Museum Exhibition on the 2nd floor which is not only outdated in its museology (as much has changed since 2006 when it was installed) but there are many voices from our community that are missing or misrepresented. We continue work on the Missing Voices film project, bringing new perspectives into the Museum—ensuring that individuals have the agency and ability to tell their own stories without mediation. We are also looking to change the permanent museum exhibition by 2025.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and Equity and Diversity codes throughout the world, guide our museum, and many museums, forward in our efforts to do better work.

We thank Mr. Andrew C. Joseph Jr., Chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation & Sinixt Confederacy, for his Letter of SupportWe are honoured to work with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation & Sinixt Confederacy, with whom we are further expanding the role we can play in truth and reconciliation, and the decolonization of the Museum.

WATCH: Done with Diversity: Reframing the future for Indigenous & Racialized Artists in Canada produced by the Rungh Cultural Society, Vancouver, BC. 

BELOW: Racism, Unrest, and the Role of the Museum Field presented by the American Alliance of Museum

READ: Give Us Permanence – Ending Anti-Black Racism in Canada’s Art Institutions published in Canadian Art Magazine

SUPPORT: SEARA (Sector Equity for Anti-Racism in the Arts) Touchstones Nelson is proud to support SEARA and the work they continue to do in providing funds to BIPOC artists, who are facing inequities in the sector. Please visit their website for more information and donate if you can.