Happy National Aboriginal Day!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I would like to take this time, on National Aboriginal Day, to share what I do at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as Aboriginal Program Coordinator. 

My job is to develop, plan and coordinate Aboriginal programming that will be in place when the Museum opens its doors to the public in 2014. I work with phenomenal people in CMHR’s Public Programming team. We are committed to creating Aboriginal programs that elicit thought and promote dialogue about the worldviews, identities, and stories of Indigenous peoples in Canada.   

Our goal is to create an Aboriginal program strategy that identifies programming opportunities based on the Aboriginal themes located throughout the Museum. These programs will be geared towards the general public and Indigenous peoples, so that, when visitors enter the Museum, and participate in a tour or workshop, they will gain new knowledge, insight and awareness.  

This Aboriginal programming strategy is now being developed. The plan is in early development and I am mapping out themes to coalesce programming ideas and opportunities. 

I recently completed three focus groups with Winnipeg’s urban Indigenous community. The purpose was to get the opinion of Indigenous youth, artists, and community connectors, to help determine how best to involve Indigenous peoples and communities in the development of plaques that will be installed on the circular theatre in the Indigenous Peoples gallery. The thoughts and opinions shared by members of the Indigenous community provided important information and direction.

The focus groups were an opportunity for the CMHR to understand, when working with Indigenous communities, that the process is as important as the result.  Members of the Indigenous community clearly expressed that any relationship initiated by the Museum will take effort, patience and open dialogue. Through these actions that the CMHR will be able to walk in partnership with the Indigenous community as equal partners, under an approach based upon recognition and respect.  

On June 21, National Aboriginal Day, I am celebrating the culture and pride of who we are as a people and community, and respecting the ceremonial traditions of our peoples on the longest day of the year…and, I hope you do as well! 

Miigwich, ekosani, ma’na, merci, pidamayakiye, muhsi, and thank you!

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