A Promising Approach to Reconciliation in Ontario's Heritage Sector

In our continued series exploring some of the work being done in our sector to address equity, diversity and inclusion (tagged “cultural equity”) I’d like to highlight some work being led by the Ontario Museums Association in partnership with Deyohahá:ge: Indigenous Knowledge Centre at the Six Nations Polytechnic and Woodland Cultural Centre to advance reconciliation in the heritage sector.

In the Spring of 2017 they hosted the Indigenous Collections Symposium that took place at the Woodland Cultural Centre and Six Nations Polytechnic. The intention was to “open an ongoing conversation between the OMA, its members and Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) communities in Ontario regarding the care and interpretation of Indigenous collections, particularly those held in trust by non-Indigenous organizations, in light of the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).”

Two documents emerged from this gathering that can help guide other arts service organizations in advancing reconciliation in their respective disciplines:

1 - Indigenous Collections Symposium: Next Steps document
2 - A collection of the papers presented at the symposium on the theme of “Promising Practices, Challenging Issues and Changing the System”

I highlight this work because it provides an inspiring example of Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups working together to address challenging issues and to find new ways of moving forward that emphasize relationships of reciprocity.

Do you know others doing great work like this in Ontario? Please share! (I know the Canadian Dance Assembly, a national dance service organization has been doing some great work in this vein but I don’t think they’ve any published documents just yet!)