The Nisga’a Treaty’s One Sentence Portrayal in the Canadian Museum of History

by Brittany Collier

Download article in PDF

ABSTRACT

Dialogue provides the space for groups to learn from one another by sharing stories and experiences with the potential outcome of collaboration. This article argues that there are limited opportunities for dialogue between Aboriginal peoples and the public throughout the First Peoples Hall exhibit, which has important implications for the Canadian Museum of History. Specifically utilizing a case study of the Nisga’a Treaty (2000), this article critically analyses the exclusion of Nisga’a and government perspectives from the one sentence description of the Treaty in the First Peoples Hall. I will suggest that through this representation, the exhibit does not conform to its intention to challenge stereotypes, assumes that the visitor possesses a certain level of knowledge, discourages critical thinking, and silences Aboriginal peoples’ perspectives by imposing a dominant narrative of national progress.

KEY WORDS

Nisga’a, First Peoples Hall, Canada, Land claim, Representation, Aboriginal, Dialogue

BIOGRAPHY

Brittany Collier is an MA Candidate in the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University, specializing in Aboriginal Studies and the North. Past work and volunteer experience with Aboriginal organizations and government departments has provided Brittany with practical policy experience reinforcing her current research interests in comprehensive land claims, self-government, and the creation of national parks in Northern Canada. Prior to attending Carleton University, Brittany obtained a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in History and a Major in Aboriginal Studies from the University of Ottawa where she was provided with the opportunity to explore different aspects of the discipline including history, culture, self-determination, and governance.