$454,000 Granted to Support First Nations and Indigenous Communities to Bring their Ancestors and Cultural Property Back Home

 May 17, 2021

For Immediate Release

Province of BC and the BC Museums Association Announce 2020 Repatriation Grants Results: $454,000 Granted to Support First Nations and Indigenous Communities to Bring their Ancestors and Cultural Property Back Home

May 17, 2021


The BC Museums Association is awarding 25 grants, representing nearly 50 First Nations and Indigenous communities in British Columbia $454,000 to fund repatriation research and activities.

Throughout the history of Canada, Indigenous peoples have had their belongings, language, culture, and even ancestors taken from them and housed in museums, universities, and private collections across the world. For decades, Indigenous leaders have worked tirelessly to support the return of their communities’ ancestors and cultural patrimony.

Through the 2020 Repatriation Grants, the BCMA and the B.C. government are taking a critical step in reconciliation and supporting this work. These grants are funded through the B.C. government’s $500,000 investment in 2020.

“I raise my hands to all these communities doing this difficult and necessary work,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “There is more to do but this is a step in the right direction. I’m proud of our government for supporting each of today’s recipients to return ancestral remains and cultural belongings to their communities. This is reconciliation in action.”

The 2020 Repatriation Grants funded both research projects and repatriation efforts. Research funding is critical because for more than a century Indigenous ancestral remains and cultural property have been seized and relocated across the world, often with little to no documentation. The 2020 Research grants assist communities in dedicating staffing, time, and financial resources to seek information regarding the whereabouts and identification of their ancestors and cultural heritage.

“First Nations throughout British Columbia are eager to have their ancestors and related cultural patrimony returned. This funding demonstrates a commitment to helping achieve this important step in the reconciliation process and the BCMA is proud to support this work,” said Jodi Simkin, BCMA President.

Projects funded by the grants will help Indigenous communities return the remains of hundreds of ancestors home over the next year.

“We are grateful to be a successful recipient of the BCMA Repatriation Grant. The grant provides us the means necessary to have sacred ancestral remains and cultural belongings returned home,” said Samaya Jardey, Director, Ta na wa Ns7éyx̱nitm ta Snew̓iyalh Language and Cultural Affairs. “There are no words to fully express the positive impact this sacred work will have on past, present, and future generations. Having ancestral remains and cultural belongings returned home will bring a sense of pride and peace to Nation members knowing that our ancestors and family treasures are taken care of in a good way.”

For a full list of 2020 Repatriation Grant recipients, visit:



Ryan Hunt

Executive Director, BC Museums Association