BC Museum: First Nation wants items returned, support for Indigenous facilities

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The Tseshaht First Nation, near Port Alberni, British Columbia, wants to repatriate historic objects from government-run facilities and receive provincial support for First Nations to build their own museums.

In light of the province’s announcement last month to rebuild the Royal BC Museum, Tseshaht First Nation elected Chief Ken Watts wrote an open letter asking the province to repatriate and help build museums of First Nations with part of the project funding instead.

“Whether it’s our own type of facility or a museum, or whether it’s Nuu-Chah-Nulth with multiple nations, let’s at least have this conversation before we move forward. with an $800 million installation,” Watts said.

Artifacts from the band office of the Tseshaht First Nation on Vancouver Island are displayed. (CTV News)

Tseshaht is one of 14 First Nations represented by the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council.

Watts says about 15 percent of First Nations artifacts in the Royal BC Museum are of Nuu-chah-nulth origin, with the number of objects estimated to be in the thousands.

The recommendation calls for Indigenous artifacts to be returned to any First Nation in British Columbia who wishes to recover them, and to redirect funding for the Royal BC Museum project to support First Nations who wish to build their own museums or facilities.

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