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Province to work with indigenous communities to ensure return of sacred ceremonial objects

The Alberta government has begun conversations about Bill 22 with indigenous communities across the province and will be continuing this engagement throughout the summer.
Bill 22, An Act to Provide for the Repatriation of Indigenous Peoples’ Sacred Ceremonial Objects, is the first step in helping to ensure indigenous communities will be able to reclaim sacred ceremonial objects in provincial collections.
Introduction of Bill 22 has been prompted in part by a review of statutes by Alberta Justice and the solicitor general in March 2013.
The review revealed that Section 2 of the First Nations Sacred Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Act, which previously provided the means for the repatriation of sacred ceremonial objects had not been proclaimed.
The bill is intended to reinforce the validity of past repatriations and to allow for the development of regulations for the return of sacred ceremonial objects to all First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities.
“In introducing this bill, we are signalling our government’s commitment to continue to engage and work with First Nations and Metis leaders as partners to ensure that sacred ceremonial objects currently held in provincial collections are returned,” Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda said.
“I am looking forward to hearing the input and advice from Indigenous communities in Alberta in advance of revisiting the legislation in the fall.”
The First Nations Sacred Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Act came into effect in 2000 as a means of returning Crown-held sacred ceremonial objects to First Nations communities.
The legislation was the first of its kind in Canada.
At the time the act was proclaimed, 251 objects previously considered on loan were immediately repatriated.
Since then, about 40 additional repatriation agreements have occurred through the Blackfoot First Nations Sacred Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Regulation proclaimed in 2004.
These agreements involved hundreds of objects returned to Alberta Blackfoot First Nations from the collections of the Glenbow and Royal Alberta museums.