[BCMA] Royal BC Museum and Sisters of St. Ann reach new agreement

Moderated BCMA subscriber listserv listserv at lists.museum.bc.ca
Thu Jun 24 09:59:19 PDT 2021

*June 23, 2021*

*Royal BC Museum and Sisters of St. Ann reach new agreement *

*to facilitate the sharing of SSA records with Indigenous communities*

*VICTORIA, BC*—Today, the Royal BC Museum and the Sisters of St. Ann (SSA)
announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding that will
provide enhanced access of the SSA’s private archival records to the Royal
BC Museum and to the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre

“All archives from organizations that were involved with residential
schools can play a role in the process of truth-finding and
reconciliation,” says Dr. Daniel Muzyka, Board Chair and Acting CEO of the
Royal BC Museum.  “Expediting access to the SSA records to Indigenous
communities is a positive step along this path.”

“We affirm our commitment to collaborate in finding the truth and will
assist in the process in whatever way we can,” says Sister Marie Zarowny,
President and Board Chair of The Sisters of St. Ann. “It is of the utmost
importance to us to contribute, in any way possible, to transparency and
accessibility, and participate in activities that can lead to healing and

The MOU identifies that Indigenous community needs are at the centre of the
process of reviewing the SSA records.

A priority is making Indian Residential School[1]
<#m_-5256108053401041186__ftn1> records and associated records that contain
information about SSA involvement at residential schools accessible to
Indigenous communities—including goals to share the records digitally. This
MOU will make the SSA records accessible to Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc, as

Staff at the BC Archives will work with the IRSHDC, as a neutral third
party, to begin the process of auditing the SSA holdings soon after July 1,
2021, when the MOU will take effect.

The MOU will remain in effect until all the work of reviewing and
processing the records is complete and the SSA archives are transferred to
the BC Archives at the Royal BC Museum.

Both IRSHDC and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR)
will work with the signatories to ensure transparency and support access.

Underpinning the MOU is an acknowledgement by both signatories to undertake
this work in the spirit of and according to the principles of the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, the United Nations
Joinet-Orentlicher Principles and the B.C. Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples Act.

Finally, the MOU acknowledges both parties’ desire to accelerate the
complete transfer of the SSA archives to the BC Archives in 2025 when the
Collections and Research Building opens. The transfer of all records held
by the SSA Archives was originally scheduled to occur in 2027.

You can read a copy of the MOU at

Photos of the MOU signing are available at
www.flickr.com/gp/36463010 at N05/5Xa1a4


*About the Royal BC Museum:  *The Royal BC Museum explores the province’s
human history and natural history, advances new knowledge and understanding
of BC, and provides a dynamic forum for discussion and a place for
reflection. The museum and archives celebrate culture and history, telling
the stories of BC in ways that enlighten, stimulate and inspire. Located in
Victoria on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen (Songhees and
Xwsepsum Nations), we are a hub of community connections in BC–onsite,
offsite and online–taking pride in our collective histories.

*About The Sisters of St. Ann:* The Sisters of St. Ann were founded in 1850
by Blessed Marie Anne Blondin in Vaudreuil, Quebec and have served in the
Pacific Northwest since 1858. After their arrival, the Sisters staffed over
30 schools and opened 10 hospitals throughout BC, the Yukon and Alaska.
Their history parallels that of British Columbia, which is what led to the
deposit and planned transfer of their archives to the BC Archives at the
Royal BC Museum.

*Media contacts:*

*Royal BC Museum:* news at royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

*Sisters of St. Ann: *trisha at replab.ca


[1] <#m_-5256108053401041186__ftnref1> The term *Indian Residential School *is
the formal descriptor as used by the federal government. Although outdated,
we have chosen to retain *Indian *to differentiate schools intended for
Indigenous children from other boarding or residential schools where the
Sisters of St Ann served.
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