Inclusivity Report: Reconciliation and Diversity at the WDM
For the past year, Dr. Elizabeth Scott, WDM Curator, has been researching how the WDM can become a more inclusive and diverse organization and how we will respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action. Her work began as part of a wider research project undertaken with the University of Saskatchewan’s Community Engaged Collaboratorium.
The initial project focused on the WDM’s exhibits with subsequent work focusing on all aspects of the WDM’s operations. The resulting Inclusivity Report provides a deep understanding of where the WDM is today and how to begin moving forward to achieve our vision of a Saskatchewan Where Everyone Belongs and Histories Matter.
The Inclusivity Report has three aims:
1. To guide the WDM’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action.
2. To guide the WDM’s efforts in becoming a more inclusive and diverse organization that welcomes and shares the histories of all Saskatchewan people, especially those who have been, and continue to be, underrepresented in the Museum.
3. To inform the importance of decolonizing the WDM’s operations and programs and outline a process for doing so.
The central issue the report addresses is the need to work towards decolonization by weaving Indigenous, non-European Canadian and marginalized perspectives throughout the WDM. For almost 70 years the WDM has provided the Saskatchewan people with a place to learn about Euro-Canadian settlement history. We plan to honour that legacy and tell new stories, so that all Saskatchewan people will see themselves and their histories in the Museum. The WDM looks forward to working in community-led partnerships to facilitate sharing these voices and stories.
Over the past year, the WDM Board of Directors has laid the groundwork for reconciliation, diversity and inclusion at the WDM. The adoption of the WDM’s vision; refining the WDM’s Ends Policy; and, adopting a Statement of Intent for reconciliation, provides the framework for the recommendations in the Inclusivity Report.
The seven main recommendations in the Inclusivity Report are:
1. Publicly acknowledge Indigenous peoples and their histories.
2. Provide training and educational opportunities for staff and volunteers including cultural awareness, anti-racism and sensitivity training to improve overall cultural competency.
3. Report on reconciliation and inclusivity activities and progress.
4. Assess collection management practices to ensure they support inclusivity and reconciliation.
5. Develop and implement a plan for exhibit renewal at all WDM locations to increase overall diversity and inclusivity in the stories being told.
6. Review, update and renew all education and public programs to ensure they align with reconciliation and inclusivity goals.
7. Review, update and renew overall WDM operations to align with reconciliation and inclusivity goals.
This work is important. The WDM’s long-term sustainability is dependent on our ability to reflect all of Saskatchewan’s people. Diversity enriches our lives, but only if we make the effort to be inclusive and bring all our stories, good or bad, into our public places. Everyone deserves to feel like they belong, and belonging is seeing yourself reflected in the public institutions around you.