Heritage and Reconciliation Pledge
In the spirit of reconciliation and in acknowledging and accepting the cultural diversity of our community and Province, the Port Moody Heritage Society pledges to:
- Recognize heritage as the representation of all people and cultures and practice heritage as “the tangible and intangible record of human imprint on the world.” (The State of Heritage)
- Establish and maintain mutually respectful, responsible and welcoming relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples – the foundation of reconciliation.
- Acknowledge the harm that has been inflicted on Indigenous and other marginalized communities and commit to action that will change behaviours and repair relations.
- Actively learn more about Indigenous Peoples, cultural diversity, Canada’s history of colonization, and to consider the influences, both positive and negative, our organization has on others as we work toward affirmative change.
- Ensure employment opportunities are open to Indigenous and culturally diverse candidates; ensure career development opportunities are equitably available to all staff members; commit to fair compensation for Indigenous and culturally diverse people.
- Create a working environment that is inclusive, welcoming and safe for Indigenous employees and people of all cultural backgrounds. The workplace environment will promote healing and recovery rather than continue practices and perpetuate conditions that inadvertently re-traumatize.
- Apply the principle “nothing about us, without us” as we involve people whose culture and stories we may wish to include in the development of our programs.
- We will consider ways to best engage and communicate with others, respecting that Indigenous communities each have their own protocols and decision-making processes. Decisions are made through a shared process that involves providing capacity for all parties to participate from preplanning stages to the achievement of outcomes.
- We will be open to evaluating programs and collections to invite new interpretations, relationships, and contexts.
- We will work toward improving access to our programs and to our organization.
- We will move beyond consultation to decision-making roles.
- Commit to generating positive and lasting change as individuals for our organization and leaders for our community.
- Support and engage in public education and advocacy, and practice respect, responsibility, and reciprocity. We believe we should be accountable for our words and actions and we will be humble in our learning and listening.
- Make reconciliation and cultural equity part of our strategic direction, so that we will continue to seek new opportunities for training, education, networking and communication, and self-evaluation. Our goals and timelines will transparent, taking into account the circumstances of those with whom we work and adjusting as needed.
- Ensure Indigenous Peoples and cultural group(s) are involved in the formation of strategies and programs that affect these groups.
- Recognize that the First Peoples of Canada are experts on their own histories and culture, that they have rich knowledge and heritage traditions, and they have rights to express and protect their heritage in their own ways.
We commit to ongoing positive and concrete steps as a catalyst for the increased awareness of the meaning and potential of reconciliation. We recognize we must be part of a collective effort to maintain momentum and we must continually reflect on the places where we reside and work, always respecting the diversity of cultures and experiences that form the richness of our provincial heritage.
1. First Nations Repatriation Policy
The PMHS no longer collects objects relating to the material culture of any First Nation community. However, the PMHS is committed to working collaboratively with regards to the disposition, care and interpretation of objects currently in the holdings of the PMHS that originate from the First Nation Communities.
The PMHS recognizes that the repatriation process can be complex and can involve a range of issues. All requests for repatriation must be approached with respect and sensitivity. In many cases the evidence, either oral or written, does not clearly indicate how the artifacts came to be in the PMHS’s collection.
The Port Moody Heritage Society is committed to the repatriation of objects that may have been acquired under circumstances that render the PMHS’s claim legally or ethically invalid.
The PMHS acknowledges that all First Nations’ material is part of the intellectual and cultural heritage of the respective First Nations. It is for this reason that the museum considers all requests for repatriation of cultural materials on a case-by-case basis at the request of a First Nation community with a demonstrable claim to the artifacts in question.
However, the PMHS recognizes that if the Nation decides they want the museum to maintain the items, it has a role in maintaining the material culture in a facility accessible to the public and is committed to the long-term preservation of these objects.
Throughout this policy, the PMHS is guided by the Task Force report of the Assembly of First Nations and the Canadian Museums Association, “ Forging New Partnerships Between Museums and First People” (1992).
- The purpose of this policy is to:
Provide clear guidelines on how to make a claim for the repatriation of First Nations cultural materials in the PMHS collection;
- Describe how the PMHS processes claims; and
- Establish criteria for items that are eligible for repatriation claims.
In accordance with the recommendations put forth in the Task Force report of the Assembly of First Nations and the Canadian Museums Association, “ Forging New Partnerships Between Museums and First People” (1992), the PMHS will consider for repatriation artifacts that are:
- Requested from a First Nation community and are associated to that local Nation.
- For repatriation to occur, a relationship must exist between a claimant and the requested material. This relationship can be lineal descent or cultural affiliation. Cultural affiliation can be based on biological, historical, geographical, genealogical, archeological, linguistic, ethnological, archival, or expert opinion.
Requests for repatriation of cultural materials should be made in writing and addressed to the Executive Director of the Port Moody Station Museum. The claim must clearly identify the group(s) making the declaration, identify the object(s), and state the reasons for the request. The Executive Director will acknowledge receipt of the claim and inform the Collections Advisory Panel to review the request. Other individuals may be appointed to the Collections Advisory Panel to address the claim.
1.2. Collection Advisory Panel Procedures
Upon receipt of the repatriation claim, the Collections Advisory Panel will:
- Review all PMHS records and information received from the requestor(s) concerning the object(s) requested;
- In the case of requests the committee will notify relevant First Nation communities of the request.
- Advertise or take other necessary steps to identify other possible claimants; and
- Submit recommendations in writing to the Board of Directors for approval.
The PMHS will consider all requests for repatriation of cultural material and will respond as quickly as possible.
Neither the Panel nor the PMHS will be involved in adjudicating or resolving conflicting or duplicate claims and cannot act on a claim until all the claimants have resolved all ownership disputes. If conflicting claims exist, the PMHS will inform parties that a conflict exits and defer decisions about repatriation until the conflict has been resolved.
In recognition of the PMHS’s interests to provide for the long-term preservation of the artifact, as well as meet the spirit and intent of the request, the PMHS will consider all available options. This may include: special access to holdings, loans, exhibits, stewardship and/or co-ownership arrangement; replication of artifacts; and respectful storage and/or display of collections in accordance with the advice of the originating peoples and/or representatives of the Province of British Columbia.
The interests of the community and/or the individual making the request will be foremost in the Panel’s consideration of the application. The PMHS will make every effort to involve the community and/or individuals in the process of responding to the claim.
While the PMHS recognizes that First Nations are governed by their own traditions and policies, the PMHS’s negotiating position is guided by Canadian Law, the Task Force Report on Museum's and First Peoples, which has been endorsed by the PMHS, and by the PMHS’s own policies and procedures.
The Museum will maintain a written record, photographs, and copies of all documents pertaining to the repatriated object(s) for their own records. The Museum reserves the right to reproduce any repatriated object in its collection before it is removed from its collection.