The 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.”