Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 and the Homeland of the Métis are located within the provincial boundaries of Saskatchewan. This is the traditional territory of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Dakota, Lakota and Nakota First Nations and the Métis people. The WDM is committed to working towards a new relationship anchored in the spirit of the Treaties and to educating Saskatchewan people about their shared history of Treaty-making.
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. This work is increasingly urgent in light of the discovery of thousands more unmarked graves at former residential schools across Canada in 2021.
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 adopted the following statement of intent in 2017:
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, prepared an Inclusivity Report outlining ways the WDM can respond to the TRC Calls to Action released in 2019. 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.
A Vision for Truth and Reconciliation through Treaty Implementation
The Office of the Treaty Commissioner has been working with hundreds of partner organizations since 2014 to develop a common Vision for Truth and Reconciliation through Treaty Implementation. In this process, they asked thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens from Saskatchewan about the Reconciliation story they would like to tell in a generation. The WDM believes in working towards this Vision in its current and future education programs, exhibitions, collection development plans and general operations. To learn more, visit: http://www.otc.ca/pages/what_is_reconciliation.html
CLICK HERE to read Office of the Treaty Commissioner: A Vision for Truth and Reconciliation Through Treaty Implementation.
The WDM is honoured to be a member of three regional Reconciliation circles –
Battlefords Regional Truth and Reconciliation, Reconciliation Saskatoon and Reconciliation Yorkton.