On May 21 and 22, Old Massett will be hosting a conference on the issue of repatriation.
The Aboriginal Repatriation Conference will be a venue for First Nations and museum professionals to compare their experiences with repatriation efforts happening all over North America.
“The conference will be a snapshot of what’s going on in other places,” said organizer Vince Collison. “We’ve been very successful over the last six years, and we have achieved our first goal with the return of over 400 ancestral remains.”
This will be an opportunity for both museums and First Nations people to “bridge some very tough issues,” said Mr. Collison, referring to the red tape and beaurocracy involved in the cross-border repatriation of Haida ancestors.
Conference speakers will facilitate future and current repatriation efforts by sharing their success stories and informing participants about the complex issues surrounding repatriation. The task force report, treaty repatriations, cross border logistics, collections management, and handling of artifacts and remains are all on the agenda.
Several other events will coincide with the conference.
The three-day Rain Dance Film Festival will be held from May 20 to May 22, and will highlight aboriginal repatriation films such as the Haida “Cabinets of Curiosity,” “Bones of Contention,” and the National Film Board’s “Totem: The return of the Gipsgolox Pole.” Also on the calendar is a fashion show, an aboriginal art expo, and a tour of Tow Hill.
“This will be a chance for us all to share our practical experiences,” Mr. Collison said, “and we are expecting quite a lot of people.”
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