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Working with Indigenous Peoples

Working with Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples around the world designed, built, and used the first canoes and kayaks. The canoe embodies Indigenous cultural memory – and is a living cultural object with both historical and contemporary relevance. As part of exhibition development, collection care, and community engagement, The Canadian Canoe Museum works alongside Indigenous Peoples to share stories and care for the collection in a good way.

Part of this journey has involved sharing authority for the research, documentation and representation of Indigenous cultures while acknowledging the lasting impacts of colonization.

The exhibit development process supports the Museum’s strategic plan and its Principles for Engaging and Consulting with FNMI Communities.

The Museum supports the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

“At this time in Canada, we are beginning a process for Truth and Reconciliation. Together, we need to learn, understand and acknowledge our shared history. We can’t do that without first knowing and understanding the impact of the canoe in Canada’s story, from those very early times when the first visitors came to our shores. The Canadian Canoe Museum provides us with an opportunity to learn, to feel, to smell, and to see the canoe in its diversity and endurance.”

Victoria Grant, Teme-Augama Anishnabai Qway
Past Chair, Canadian Canoe Museum Board; CCM National Council Member; Past Chair, Community Foundations of Canada

Learn more about how The Canadian Canoe Museum is working with Indigenous Peoples

Boughs of cedar adorn the Collection Hall as part of traditional care practices to purify the space and welcome and protect the canoes. In the background, two employees can be seen moving a canoe.

Caring for Indigenous Collections

The Canadian Canoe Museum supports and prioritizes the accessibility of collections and cultural belongings to Indigenous Peoples.

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A concept render of the entrance to The Canadian Canoe Museum's Exhibition Hall. A man in a suit stands reading a text panel, while in the background visitors make their way through the exhibits.

The Exhibits

Through a variety of engaging and inspiring means, these exhibits honour Indigenous knowledges, cultures, histories and ingenuity.

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Cracked blue paint covers the stern of a wooden canoe in The Canadian Canoe Museum's collection.

Repatriation Policy

As part of engaging with Indigenous communities and taking forward its responsibilities to them, The Canadian Canoe Museum recognizes that repatriation claims may arise.

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Elder Eemeelayou Arnaquq writes Inuktitut words relating to the qajaq on chart paper.

Indigenous Languages Program

We are ensuring voices and languages from Indigenous communities are seen and heard throughout the Museum and exhibits as part of the Indigenous Languages Program supported by TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment.

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The Canadian Canoe Museum's new logo formatted vertically. On the left, the pictograph is centred on a red rock face and below it, "The Canadian Canoe Museum" appears in three languages, Anishnaabemowin, English, and French.

Our Logo

The Canadian Canoe Museum has worked closely with Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg knowledge holders to translate the Museum’s name into Anishnaabemowin, the language of the territory, lands and waters on which the Museum is situated.

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For further information, please contact:

Jeremy Ward, Curator
[email protected]

CCM Logo White

The Canadian Canoe Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are situated on the Treaty 20 Michi Saagiig territory and the traditional territory covered by the Williams Treaties First Nations. The Canadian Canoe Museum also recognizes the contributions of Indigenous Peoples including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, in shaping this community and country as a whole.

As an organization that stewards the world’s largest and most significant collection of canoes, kayaks & paddled watercraft, we will honour and share the cultural histories and stories within the collection in all that we do.

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2077 Ashburnham Dr
Peterborough, ON
K9L 1P8

Phone: 705-748-9153

Email: [email protected]


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