Museum of History cancels Canada Day activities

·2 min read
The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., will cancel its Canada Day activities, according to an internal email from its interim CEO. (Jonathan Dupaul/Radio-Canada - image credit)
The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., will cancel its Canada Day activities, according to an internal email from its interim CEO. (Jonathan Dupaul/Radio-Canada - image credit)

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

Following the latest discovery of hundreds more unmarked graves in Canada's former residential schools, the Canadian Museum of History has decided to cancel this year's Canada Day activities.

In an internal email sent to staff, the museum's acting president and CEO Caroline Dromaguet said the decision was directly connected to the discovery of remains of an estimated 215 children in B.C., and 751 in Saskatchewan.

Several municipalities across Canada have also cancelled Canada Day activities in recent weeks.

"The museum believes it is its responsibility to address this national tragedy," wrote Dromaguet. "The Museum of History will therefore not be presenting any special Canada Day activities."

The museum will remain open for visitors on July 1 with free admission.

Dromaguet says signs will be put up in the Canadian History Hall near the residential schools module to highlight the recent findings.

Those signs will say the museum will be "immediately reviewing its content" to make sure it's sensitive, appropriate and reflects the discoveries of the unmarked graves. The First Peoples Hall, among other areas, will also see revisions in the coming days.

Flags will remain at half mast at the museum and stay illuminated in orange.

"The museum will honour these children and all those who have not yet been found by continuing to provide a platform for Indigenous voices," Dromaguet adds in her statement.

"The museum recognizes and will continue to confront its own colonial past and prioritize efforts that move us forward in the spirit of reconciliation."

Support is available for anyone affected by the lingering effects of residential school and those who are triggered by the latest reports.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for residential school survivors and others affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

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