Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

June 12, 2009 14:00 ET

The Government of Canada Supports U'mista Cultural Society

ALERT BAY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 12, 2009) - On behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, John Duncan, Member of Parliament (Vancouver Island North), today announced funding for the U'mista Cultural Society.

This funding will support the Society's "Telling Our Stories in Exhibitry" project, which will create three exhibits focused on the storytelling, art, and cultural regalia of the Kwakwaka'wakw people. Complementary project components include professional development training in exhibit methods for the Assistant Curator, artist training workshops for local Kwakwaka'wakw artists, and sharing of cultural traditions and knowledge by Elders.

"Initiatives such as this are vital to ensuring the preservation and management of Aboriginal cultural heritage," said Minister Moore. "We are proud to support projects like this one that help promote the rich history of Canada's First Peoples."

"The stories of the Kwakwaka'wakw people can not only help preserve the history and cultural traditions of this area, but can also help build bridges between cultures," said Mr. Duncan. "Stories are one of the most effective ways for people to understand one another."

"'Telling Our Stories in Exhibitry' is fundamental to the preservation of our history and our culture," said Andrea Sanborn, Executive Director of the U'mista Cultural Centre. "We feel our stories are important, as they are from the First Peoples of Canada. Telling them in exhibits will enhance educational components for schools and help many of our visitors come to a better understanding of our culture."

The U'mista Cultural Society was founded in 1974. The organization is a leader in the repatriation of items of historical, cultural, and spiritual significance to First Nations. U'mista houses one of the finest collections of elaborately carved masks and regalia depicting the potlatch ceremony of the Kwakwaka'wakw.

The Government of Canada has provided $60,000 in funding through the Museums Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage. This program provides funding to Canadian museums and related institutions for projects that foster excellence in museum activities and that facilitate access to the treasures of our collective heritage.

This news release is available on the Internet at under Media Room.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
    and Official Languages
    Deirdra McCracken - Director of Communications
    Canadian Heritage
    Western Region
    Ginette Montreuil
    Regional Manager, Communications
    Canadian Heritage
    Media Relations