1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

"Heart Work":
Centring Relationality in Métis Material Culture Repatriation

Leah Hrycun, PhD Student in Indigenous Studies, University of Alberta; Research Assistant, Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research


About the Session

Session_Heart Work 1

Image Credit: Fort Chipewyan Bicentennial Museum, Alberta Museums Project: Sustaining Identities, Economies, and Places.

Members of the Métis Nation have expressed interest in advancing repatriation efforts on behalf of Métis in Alberta. However, while repatriation is very important to Métis in Alberta, current policies and procedures - including resistance from museums - make such repatriation efforts largely unavailable. From a Métis perspective, reconciliation includes the exercise of self-determination through the care, control, and repatriation of their material culture. For this to occur, museums must practice Métis relationality. Building relationships with Métis and opening dialogues about Métis repatriation and care and control over material culture is, in part, an answer to Call 67 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action. In this session, attendees will learn about practical ways that museums and collecting institutions can remove the hurdles Métis face when trying to access or exercise care and control over their material culture. Attendees will gain tools to begin building good relations with Métis as a step toward reconciliation with a Métis-specific repatriation framework.


Questions to Consider

  • What are some ways you can see your museum or institution incorporating Métis relationality?
  • What barriers stand in the way of putting these ideas into practice? How could these barriers be removed?


About the Speaker


Leah Hrycun
she / her

Leah Hrycun is a PhD Student in Indigenous Studies at the University of Alberta who has spent most of her life in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (amisk-wa-chi-was-ga-hi-gan), also known as Edmonton. She is a settler of Ukrainian, German, and Jewish ancestry. Leah has been working as a research assistant with the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research for a number of years. Celebrating its ten-year anniversary, the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research is a joint initiative between the Rupertsland Learning Institute, the Métis Nation of Alberta, and the University of Alberta, that seeks to address the specific research needs of Métis in Alberta and build local, provincial, and national connections with Métis communities. Leah's research interests include Métis histories, material culture repatriation, land settlement and dispossession, whiteness, and settler-colonialism. This research seeks to raise awareness of the need for Métis-specific repatriation frameworks and for museums to expand their community engagement to include Métis.






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