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.