Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell speaks to Peace Arch Elementary students in January 2019. (File photo)

Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell speaks to Peace Arch Elementary students in January 2019. (File photo)

Semiahmoo First Nation to repatriate 200 ancestors

B.C. grant funding return of remains from Simon Fraser University

The Semiahmoo First Nation is to welcome 200 of its ancestors home, through a repatriation grant announced Monday (May 17) by the provincial government and the BC Museums Association.

A news release details a total of $454,000 in funding to support 50 First Nations and Indigenous communities in such efforts.

According to a list at indigenous.museum.bc.ca detailing recipients, the Semiahmoo’s grant is for repatriation of ancestors held at Simon Fraser University.

READ MORE: ‘The truth needs to come from us’: Semiahmoo First Nation

In all, 25 grants are being awarded to fund such research and activities.

“Throughout the history of Canada, Indigenous peoples have had their belongings, language, culture, and even ancestors taken from them and housed in museums, universities, and private collections across the world,” the release states.

“For decades, Indigenous leaders have worked tirelessly to support the return of their communities’ ancestors and cultural patrimony.”

Funded by a $500,000 investment by the B.C. government in 2020, the grants are described as “reconciliation in action.”

“There is more to do but this is a step in the right direction,” Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Melanie Mark said in the release.

Projects funded are to help communities return their ancestors’ remains over the next year.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
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