When considering CreativeMornings August theme of Release, we looked closely at the pressing matter of repatriation that is a growing concern globally, with many institutions grappling with how to proceed. Luckily we had Lou-ann Neel, who literally wrote the book on repatriation, joining us to offer insight into her research and the steps the Royal BC Museum has taken towards the release of culturally significant artifacts and objects.
We were honoured to have Lou-ann as our speaker on August 13th, 2021. Please see the link above to view the recording of her talk and the conversation that followed.
Lou-ann Neel is from the Mamalilikulla and Kwagiulth people of the Kwakwaka’wakw (the Kwak’wala-speaking people). Lou-ann was born in Alert Bay, BC, but has lived much of her life in Victoria, in the unceded traditional territories of the Lekwungen people. Lou-ann is a practising visual artist, working in textiles, jewelry, illustration, painting and digital design. Lou-ann has been an active volunteer in the Indigenous arts community for the past 40 years, specializing in copyright and intellectual property rights of Indigenous artists, their families, communities and nations. “I believe Indigenous artists and communities of practice should be recognized and supported at the same levels as other BC and Canadian artists and arts organizations, so my goal is to ensure there are Indigenous arts organizations established to provide the kinds of supports needed and to ensure our unique traditions are transferred to future generations of Indigenous artists.”
Lou-ann joined the Royal BC Museum in April 2018 as the repatriation specialist. “It is truly an honor to work closely with First Nations communities throughout BC to address repatriation matters; I believe this is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect Indigenous artists with the histories, songs, dances, regalia and other important objects that were historically created by their respective communities. I think this is an important part of revitalizing these practices and ensuring they are successfully passed on to the next generations of Indigenous artists. I am very thankful to have this opportunity, and I look forward to the important work that will take place over the next few years.”