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We Are Coming Home

Repatriation and the Restoration of Blackfoot Cultural Confidence

by Gerald T. Conaty Editor · Robert R. Janes Contributor


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In 1990, Gerald Conaty was hired as senior curator of ethnology at the Glenbow Museum, with the particular mandate of improving the museum's relationship with Aboriginal communities. That same year, the Glenbow had taken its first tentative steps toward repatriation by returning sacred objects to First Nations' peoples. These efforts drew harsh criticism from members of the provincial government. Was it not the museum's primary legal, ethical, and fiduciary responsibility to ensure the physical preservation of its collections? Would the return of a sacred bundle to ceremonial use not alter and diminish its historical worth and its value to the larger society? Undaunted by such criticism, Conaty oversaw the return of more than fifty medicine bundles to Blackfoot and Cree communities between the years of 1990 and 2000, at which time the First Nations Sacred Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Act (FNSCORA)—still the only repatriation legislation in Canada—was passed. "Repatriation," he wrote, "is a vital component in the creation of an equitable, diverse, and respectful society."

Publication Details

Athabasca University Press
AU Press
Publication Date:


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Gerald T. Conaty (Editor)

Gerald T. Conaty was the director of Indigenous studies at the Glenbow Museum. He leaves as his legacy more than thirty articles and books, including Power Images: Portrayals of Native America, co-authored with Sarah E. Boehme. In 2003, he was ind...

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Robert R. Janes (Contributor)

Robert R. Janes was the president and CEO of Glenbow Museum from 1989 to 2000. He is a visiting research fellow at the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester (UK) and an adjunct professor of archaeology at the University of Calgary.

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Allan Pard (Contributor)

John W. (Jack) Ives is currently the Faculty of Arts Landrex Distinguished Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta, and the executive director of the Institute of Prairie Archaeology.

More about Allan Pard


Editor :
Gerald T. Conaty
Contributor :
Robert R. Janes
Contributor :
Allan Pard
Contributor :
John W. Ives
Contributor :
Jerry Potts
Contributor :
Frank Weasel Head
Contributor :
Herman Yellow Old Woman
Contributor :
Chris McHugh
We Are Coming Home
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