Reconciliation and Inclusion in Action
At The National Trust for Canada we know that history and heritage is complex and contentious, dominated by white perspectives, and that our work and the system of which we are a part needs to change. We seek to involve a broader public and new partners, including Indigenous communities, underrepresented communities and youth, in order to learn from and represent a wide diversity of perspectives, values and interests.
As Canada’s national heritage organization, we are finding new ways to bring the sector together and create space for more voices and perspectives. We still have work to do – but we hope Canadians are seeing our commitment to respecting and reflecting the cultural diversity of Canada, increasingly, in everything we do: in the people and places we feature in our publications; in the themes tackled at our annual conferences; in the list of Passport places we market and promote to our members; and in the many partnerships that shape our work.
A few examples of our work that reflects Reconciliation, Diversity and Inclusion:
- In preparing our conference program each year, we strive to have rich Indigenous heritage content throughout; we show respect and follow established protocols for acknowledging ancestral territory and cultural heritage and draw on the expertise and traditional wisdom of the host Indigenous Peoples upon whose territory each conference is held.
- The 2013 National Trust conference hosted a conference session on Indigenous cultural landscapes involving the founders of the Indigenous Cultural Heritage Circle.
- Since 2015, we have integrated substantial multi-session Forums on the protection of Indigenous cultural heritage into every annual conference, working with representatives from across the country including the Métis Nation of Alberta, Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick, Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn, Blackfoot Confederacy in Alberta, Six Nations of the Grand River, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn and others.
- In 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, the IHC and the National Trust for Canada have partnered to host a joint Indigenous intern. This position offers a unique opportunity for an Indigenous candidate to work alongside two major heritage organizations to develop a Report Card on the State of Historic Places (integrating both Indigenous and non-Indigenous heritage values) and to redesign the National Trust’s annual Endangered Places List to consider factors that may presently jeopardize efforts to care for Indigenous heritage places.
- The National Trust for Canada has been actively expanding its Passport Places program with Indigenous and Black History in mind. Our most recent additions: Métis Crossing in Alberta and Woodland Cultural Centre in Ontario (a former residential school) join Six Nation locations, Chiefswood NHS and Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mowhawks, Beothuk Interpretation Centre in Newfoundland, Buxton Museum in Ontario and Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Ontario.
- The National Trust for Canada is proud to partner with the Indigenous Heritage Circle (IHC) an Indigenous-designed and Indigenous-led organization founded in 2016, that is dedicated to the advancement of cultural heritage priorities that are of importance to Métis, Inuit, and First Nations Peoples in Canada. We have an MOU in place with the IHC committing to work together in a spirit of collaboration.
- The National Trust also has a strong, on-going collaborative relationship with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) and in 2019 partnered with them and the National Indigenous Residential School Museum (Long Plain First Nation) to convene a landmark two-day gathering in Winnipeg of over one hundred Indigenous participants from across Canada – Maamiikwendan Gathering: Remembering Residential Schools & Cemeteries as Indigenous Sites of Conscience – funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage and Parks Canada. The event helped to create the groundwork for an Indigenous network of groups working on commemorating and researching Residential Schools and Cemeteries.
- In summer 2020, we held two ‘Gatherings of the Heritage Sector’ of the sector to talk about Heritage, Diversity, and Anti-Racism.
- In July 2021 we curated a resource guide on Indigenous Heritage available on our website here.
- In April 2022 we welcomed our first Manager, Reconciliation, Diversity and Inclusion to the team, as an essential member of our staff.