A promotional poster for the Yahguudangang exhibit featuring some of the works that will be on display. (Haida Gwaii Museum)

Opening weekend for Yahguudangang art show at Haida Gwaii Museum

Repatriated works, and those yet to be brought home, will be the focus of the new exhibit

Friday, June 28, marked the opening of the Yahguudangang — To Pay Respect — The Repatriation Journey of the Haida Nation exhibit at the Haida Gwaii Museum.

Yahguudangang, as the name of the exhibit implies, refers to the idea of respect, one of the main laws of the Haida nation. This in turn informs the work of reconciliation, of which a key concept is repatriation.

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“There will be images of a portion of the objects that are in museums throughout the world, and there will be a recreation of the Skedans chest,” said Cherie Wilson of the museum.

The Haida Gwaii Museum has been seeking to carry out this idea through the repatriation of Haida artifacts that have ended up in museums and in private collections throughout the world. Thousands of such artifacts have been identified as being displayed or located outside of Haida lands, although through diligent work by the museum and a number of Haida organizations and volunteers, they are slowly being repatriated back to their rightful home.

READ MORE: Alfie Collinson carvings now on display at Haida Gwaii Museu

The work is far from complete though, and it will be a long process to ensure the return of all the artifacts. Many of the ones that have been repatriated will be shown at the exhibit, as will those still on display outside of Haida territory.

The evening featured a variety of entertainment, including singing, dancing and food. For anyone unable to make it out for opening weekend, there’s no need to worry. The exhibit will run for the next six months until Dec. 28.

Alex Kurial | Journalist
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