Skip to content

Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations sign memorandums of understanding with MONOVA

After six years of working with the Nations, the Museum of North Vancouver has officially signed memorandums of understanding with Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations
Khelsilem Tl’aḵwasik̓an, Chairperson at Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation, and Carleen Thomas, Elder from Səl̓ílwətaɬ Nation sign the memoranda.

A first for any museum in Coast Salish territories, MONOVA: the Museum of North Vancouver, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and Səlílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nation have signed respective memorandums of understanding, in an effort to strengthen the relationship between the two host Nations and the museum.̓

Representatives from the MONOVA team, along with Khelsilem Tl’aḵwasik̓an, Chairperson of Squamish Nation, and Elder Carleen Thomas, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, signed the agreements which underpin how they will work together moving forward. 

Inspired to act after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presented its Calls to Action in 2015, MONOVA’s Indigenous Voices Advisory Committee has been working for over six years to take its informal relationship with the Nations and turn it into a more formal and structured one. 

The focus of the agreements is to create the space for meaningful cultural knowledge sharing to inform the North Vancouver community, and in the long term, improve communication between MONOVA and the Nations, and “to understand, respect and follow appropriate protocols that will in turn lead to a strengthened relationship,” the museum said in a statement. 

“It took many years to develop these Memoranda of Understanding. They’re powerful documents, jointly created at a time of national and local reckoning with our history, and they represent just the beginning of what is possible,” MONOVA’s IVAC member Terry Hood said. 

The agreements will also create the framework for: 

  • creating spaces to share stories from the Nations; 

  • repatriation support; 

  • support for Coast Salish art; 

  • collaboration with the archives; 

  • understanding and respect for protocols; 

  • support for exhibit development;

  • compensation for community involvement;

  • support for language revitalization, and 

  • creating more opportunities for Indigenous programming. 

“This is the first of the public museums in our territory that we’ve developed a protocol agreement and MOU with,” Khelsilem said. “There are a lot of belongings that exist out there in the world somewhere that were either bought or taken at some point that we want to see returned. And it’s through these relationships with these public institutions that we’re able to work together to achieve repatriation, so those belongings can come home to our people.”

Admission to MONOVA is free for anyone who identifies as Indigenous.