Reconciliation at the WDM
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada tabled its final report after six years of collecting testimony from survivors and extensively researching the history of the residential school system in Canada. The Commission was tasked with both revealing the truth of the residential school experience and forging a path towards reconciliation.
As the provincially-mandated human history museum of Saskatchewan, the WDM has a responsibility to contribute to truth and reconciliation efforts by providing ways for people to connect with all of our histories, including those stories that are difficult to tell.
Having a role in reconciliation is a journey that we must take in partnership with Indigenous communities throughout Saskatchewan. As our first step in this journey, the Board of Directors has adopted the following statement of intent;
The Western Development Museum affirms the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation. We commit to engaging in reconciliation by responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action in our Strategic Plan. In partnership with Saskatchewan’s Indigenous communities, we aim to develop more inclusive operations, programming and exhibits for the museum. (Adopted September 15, 2017)
Reconciliation is important and key to creating safe, welcoming communities throughout the province and nationally. Following the Board’s adoption of the Statement of Intent, Dr. Elizabeth Scott, WDM Curator, has prepared an Inclusivity Report outlining way the WDM can respond to the TRC Calls to Action. Some of the objectives in the report will be simpler to implement than others. Some, we will only be able to implement in true partnership with Saskatchewan’s Indigenous communities.
As an organization, we are committed to this important work. Feeling like you belong and having a strong sense of place, comes, in part, from seeing yourself reflected in the public institutions around you.
It’s only when all Saskatchewan people find their histories reflected in the exhibits, programs, and activities of the WDM that we will be closer to living in a place where everyone belongs and histories matter.
Every section the WDM’s should highlight Indigenous Peoples’ culture. My five year old nephew wanted to believe the settlers diacovered Sk after his first visit to the WDM in S’toon, and he is First Nation….because there was so little about any Indigenous group!
Thank you Cheryl for your comments. As part of the WDM’s response to the TRC Calls to Action the content in our four museums will be reviewed and revised over the coming years. The Inclusivity Report, to be released shortly, outlines a process and recommendations for achieving these goals. We encourage and appreciate suggestions like yours from our visitors and members and will forward them to the Curatorial Committee that oversees the WDM’s content. For more information on Reconciliation and the WDM watch for the release of the Inclusivity Report in the coming weeks on our website and social media channels.
Communications and Media Relations
I want to applaud the WDM for making this very important step to creating culturally safe spaces for all. We as a Metis Organization worked with WDM Saskatoon and we could not have had a more inviting space and your staff was open to us with respect to adding cultural artifacts. We only hope that there will be more inclusion and permanent exhibits going forward. We look forward to working with WDM again this year for our 2 nd annual Metis Days!
Thank you Michelle for your comments! We are so pleased you had a positive experience with the WDM and staff. We very much look forward to your next event!
Communications and Media Relations