Royal Alberta Museum returns Indigenous artifacts
Sep 26, 2022
The Royal Alberta Museum has returned ownership of seven cultural artifacts from its collections to the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.
In the spirit of reconciliation, the Royal Alberta Museum and Alberta’s government are working with Indigenous leaders and communities to address past wrongs and harm done to Indigenous Peoples. Part of this work includes identifying and returning Indigenous cultural artifacts.
This return of ownership of seven objects to the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) was completed under the terms of the Historical Resources Act.
“Returning culturally significant artifacts to the communities they came from is a necessary and important step towards reconciliation. Alberta’s government and the Royal Alberta Museum are committed to working with Indigenous communities to honour the significance of Indigenous artifacts and the stories they tell.”
Ron Orr, Minister of Culture
Alberta’s government and ACFN share an interest in preserving these important cultural artifacts. The Treaty 8 medal and its leather strap were physically returned while the remaining five objects will be on loan to the Royal Alberta Museum for preservation purposes as they are larger, fragile and difficult to move. The ACFN has approved these items remaining at the museum and can choose to move these objects at any time.
“The return of these objects to the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is a powerful moment, and the Royal Alberta Museum is honoured to take this important step toward reconciliation. We look forward to exploring future opportunities to strengthen our relationship with Alberta’s Indigenous communities.”
Meaghan Patterson, executive director, Royal Alberta Museum
“This is a great example of what’s possible when we work together. There is still much to do to repatriate additional items but we thank Minister Orr for recognizing the importance of returning these pieces of ACFN history. Marsi cho.”
Chief Allan Adam, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
The Royal Alberta Museum consults with Indigenous communities and leaders on an ongoing basis to ensure Indigenous objects and stories in its galleries are shared and cared for appropriately or returned to their rightful owners. To honour the unique relationship between Indigenous Peoples of Alberta and the Crown, the museum offers free admission to Indigenous Peoples.