October 9, 2010

Nisga'a Repatriation

Last month, the Nisga'a Nation - based around the Nass river valley - was involved in a large repatriation project with the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The Nisga'a plan to build a new museum to house the pieces, which consist of 155 works from Royal BC Museum and 121 works from the Museum of Civilization.

This repatriation was unique in that it was facilitated through the signing of a treaty between in the Nisga'a and the federal government in 2000. This is the first repatriation that has been completed as a result of a treaty within Canada. This same treaty also brought about the long-awaited implementation of self-governance amongst the Nisga'a. The desire and fight for self-governance within many British Columbian First Nations communities has been going on for a very long time.

Despite losing numerous artworks from their collections, the two museums involved with this return of material culture have stated that they plan to build their collections back up with contemporary works from northern BC.

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