Ongoing discussions with Indigenous leaders across Alberta have prompted a new direction for repatriation of sacred ceremonial objects held in government collections, to better address the unique cultural needs of First Nations and Métis communities.
Through consultations following the introduction of Bill 22, An Act to Provide for the Repatriation of Indigenous Peoples’ Sacred Ceremonial Objects, First Nations leaders indicated a preference to maintain a distinct repatriation process. Métis leaders suggested a need to look at repatriation in keeping with their own specific needs.
“The introduction of Bill 22 initiated productive discussions with Indigenous leaders that have highlighted repatriation’s importance to Indigenous people, as well as its complexity. Clearly this process should be guided by the specific cultural needs and traditions of First Nations and of Métis communities. Our government made a commitment to the Indigenous people of Alberta to renew our relationship, based on trust and respect, and we are committed to continuing these discussions and working with Indigenous leaders on that basis.”
To ensure continued repatriation of sacred ceremonial objects to First Nations communities, the Alberta government has moved to proclaim Section 2 of the First Nations Sacred Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Act (FNSCORA). This would allow continued repatriation to Blackfoot First Nations and development of regulations for repatriation of items held in government collections to other First Nations. That section must be proclaimed by Dec. 31, 2016 or it will be repealed under the Statutes Repeal Act, which mandates the repeal of unproclaimed legislation more than five years old.
Since more discussions will be held with First Nations and Métis leaders, no further action will be taken on Bill 22.