Free admission one way new Royal Alberta Museum will honour Indigenous people

The exterior of the new $375.5 million Royal Alberta Museum in downtown Edmonton. August 16, 2016. Vinesh Pratap, Global News

In an effort to recognize reconciliation, Indigenous guests will receive free admission to the new Royal Alberta Museum, the province announced this week.

It’s one of several steps the museum has taken to recognize that it sits on Treaty Six land and the fact that many of the stories presented in the museum are Indigenous.

When visitors first enter the museum, they will hear a statement in 13 Indigenous languages, along with English and French. The province said the statement would welcome visitors to the museum and acknowledge the land has been a meeting place for generations of First Nations and Metis peoples.

“Staff at the museum have put a lot of effort into connecting with the diverse Indigenous groups across Alberta,” Indigenous content advisory panel member Carrrielynn Lund said. “They have listened to our recommendations and have acted on them, which has resulted in the outstanding museum you will see.”

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The province worked with the content panel and Indigenous communities to develop the exhibits for the museum, the release said. Inside the new Human History Hall, for example, there are 150 individual exhibits and almost half of them address Indigenous themes.

“Together, museum staff and Indigenous advisers have worked thoughtfully and passionately to develop meaningful galleries that share stories of Indigenous culture with future generations, Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda said.

“These stories will live on as the uncensored accounts of Indigenous experiences in Alberta.”

Films that will be shown in the museum will be able to be heard to captioned in several Indigenous languages including Plains Cree, Woods Cree, Blackfoot, Dene Tha’, Dënesųłiné, Stoney Nakoda, Nakota, Saulteaux and Michif.

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A spokesperson for RAM said they wouldn’t be asking people to prove Indigenous status to access the museum for free, instead people will only need to self-identify at the box office.

The new museum opens on Oct. 3 and will become the largest museum in Western Canada.

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