Canadian Museum of History, Peskotomuhkati Nation at Skutik sign agreement to preserve important objects

November 5, 2019


For immediate release

Gatineau, Quebec, November 5, 2019 — The Canadian Museum of History has signed an unprecedented agreement with the Peskotomuhkati Nation at Skutik to safeguard a unique collection of more than 100 items reflecting traditional Indigenous material culture. The Museum will house and care for the collection until it can be permanently relocated to New Brunswick, and will display a selection of objects in its Resource Centre until April 2020.

“We are pleased to share responsibility with the Peskotomuhkati Nation for these important objects,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History. “In keeping with this institution’s long history of collaboration with Indigenous communities, and in the spirit of reconciliation, we look forward to working with the Peskotomuhkati Nation at Skutik to research, conserve and exhibit this collection. This partnership also provides valuable opportunities to enhance our collective understanding and appreciation of Peskotomuhkati history and culture, supported by the Museum’s expertise and the traditional knowledge of the Peskotomuhkati People.”

In 2018, the Peskotomuhkati Nation at Skutik acquired culturally significant lands at Camp Chiputneticook, a 1,011-hectare (2,500-acre) property and lodge on the Skutik (St. Croix) River near St. Andrews, New Brunswick. On the Nation’s behalf, the Museum received a large collection of Wabanaki items once housed at Camp Chiputneticook. The Government of Canada, through the Departement of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs (CIRNA), funded both purchases.

“The Lodge, the lands, and the collection purchased by the Government of Canada on our behalf, have created a unique opportunity for open dialogue, through which our Nation has enjoyed a respectful and meaningful relationship with the Canadian Museum of History and its staff. This has become the foundation for moving forward into a future, freed from the need for reconciliation for a history of regret,” said Peskotomuhkati at Skutik Chief Hugh Akagi. “The first European settlement of French explorers in our territory in 1604, the Treaties of Peace and Friendship, and our participation in both World Wars all highlight the history we share with Canada, to which this collection and this museum will serve as a reminder that the role played, and the sacrifices made are not to be forgotten.”

The range of items — wooden tools, beaded clothing and bags, beaded jewellery, silver jewellery, games and puzzles, bowls, drums, headdresses, canoes, woven baskets and more — make this one of the largest-known collections of traditional Peskotomuhkati material culture in Canada.

The Canadian Museum of History is currently housing the collection in trust for the Peskotomuhkati Nation at Skutik. The collection will eventually be returned to the Nation, which will then assume responsibility for its care and conservation. As part of the agreement, the Museum is contributing to the collection’s care in association with the Peskotomuhkati Nation.

Although the Museum has collaborated in the past with Indigenous communities — on long-term loans to Indigenous cultural centres, shared stewardship agreements, and travelling exhibitions — this is the first time it has purchased a collection in trust for an Indigenous community.

Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History welcomes over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum’s principal role is to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped Canada’s history and identity, as well as to enhance Canadians’ awareness of world history and culture. Work of the Canadian Museum of History is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.

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