The goal of the Program is to develop ways for Indigenous nations across Canada to represent their own history and culture in concert with cultural institutions.
The RBC Indigenous Internship Program offers professional and technical training for First Nations, Métis and Inuit participants. It is the only program of its kind in Canada. The goal of the Program is to develop ways for Indigenous nations across Canada to represent their own history and culture in concert with cultural institutions.
Since 1993, the Program has welcomed interns from over 40 different Indigenous nations across Canada. Graduates have gone on to become role models and advocates in museum and cultural sectors. Upon completing the Program, many graduates have used their training and experience to become community museum staff, directors, instructors and government employees, or to help them select a specific area of expertise in which to further their studies. Others have taken on leadership roles in organizations such as the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and the Haudenosaunee Cultural Resources Protection Program.
The Program also works with a variety of affiliates and stakeholders such as First Nations agencies, national museums, the federal government, local colleges and universities, provincial museums, Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian Conservation Institute, the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres, as well as some of the First Nations that have museums, libraries, cultural centres or cultural tourism ventures.
Guest alumna Margaret Fireman (Cree) addresses the attendees at the 20th anniversary graduation ceremony in 2013
The goal of the RBC Indigenous Internship Program at the Museum is to offer First Nations, Métis, and Inuit participants professional and technical training. The Program operates from September to April of each year, with a two week break for the holiday season.
To offer practical experience for Indigenous people who would like to broaden their knowledge and skills in various aspects of museum work.
The RBC Indigenous Internship Program was inspired by and has evolved as a result of recommendations released by the Task Force on Museums and First Peoples in 1992. That effort was jointly sponsored by the Assembly of First Nations and the Canadian Museums Association. Its mission: “To develop an ethical framework and strategies for Aboriginal Nations to represent their history and culture in concert with cultural institutions.”
The Program was implemented by the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now Canadian Museum of History) in 1993.
“The Task Force has achieved credibility and displayed a unique working relationship which has brought the native and non-native museum communities together. This has paved the way for future affiliations and successes that will only benefit all those who choose to become involved.”
Ovide Mercredi, National Chief, Assembly of First Nations, January 1992
Regarding training, the Task Force Report on Museums and First Peoples revealed, “The need for training for both First Peoples and non-Aboriginal museum personnel is critical. To work in established museums, or to develop museums in their own Communities, First Peoples need training in all phases of museology. Conversely, museum personnel need training in the cultures of First Peoples in order to better care for and interpret collections, and to work more effectively as partners with First Peoples communities.”
Pertaining to access, “All museums and art galleries with ethnographic or Aboriginal art collections should develop programs which encompass legitimate opportunities and encouragement for the employment of Aboriginal peoples at all levels of their operations.”
Further, “Museums and other cultural institutions should recognize the legitimate credentials of certain individuals and groups within Aboriginal communities who possess knowledge of the particular culture.”
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