Homeward Journey

Traditional Indigenous medicines laid out on a patterned cloth.

The Manitoba Museum has held Ancestors of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities within our collections for several decades. We sincerely and profoundly regret this. In doing this we know the Museum has contributed to and played a role in colonialization. We apologize for our actions, inactions, failures, past and present and understand that what is required now is that our actions be transparent, honest, and meaningful.

In 2022 the Museum began the Homeward Journey project – the work needed to identify the Ancestors with the aim of bringing them home. The Museum also undertook the work of preparing an apology to communities which will be delivered in Fall 2024.

We expect bringing the Ancestors home will take several years and will require honest and meaningful engagement with impacted communities in preparation, during, and after their return.

The Museum is seeking the guidance of spiritual and community leaders and connecting with communities to strengthen relationships. We are committed to communicating the work that is being done and returning the Ancestors home.


Ancestors: The physical or biological remains, and more broadly, the spirits of Original Peoples, particularly those who lived in Manitoba and North America or Turtle Island.

Belongings: The possessions associated with Ancestors. Museums and archaeologists frequently refer to these objects as artifacts. For the purposes of the Homeward Journey initiative, Ancestors and their belongings are considered indivisible and should be stored and repatriated together.

Colonization: The process of settling among, extracting from and establishing control over Indigenous peoples and their land. In what is now North America, this process began in the mid-15th century and continues today.

Repatriation: Repatriation is the return of persons, material heritage, and/or associated knowledge to its place of origin, or to its former owners or their heirs. It is a widely understood concept and plays a role in government policy. However, repatriation is often connected to ideas of property and nationhood, and it may not be well connected to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis values.

Rematriation: As a result, the term rematriation has begun to be used. The concept was first introduced by Stó:lō author Lee Maracle in the 1980s. It attempts to reclaim or re-connect values, culture, knowledge, and material resources. The Museum is using both terms in tandem, as repatriation is the better-known term but rematriation more closely aligns with our intent to return the Ancestors in an appropriate way and acknowledges matrilineal heritage systems. (CMA Moved to Action Report: p.40) 

Homeward Journey at the Manitoba Museum FAQ

Crisis Support

We understand that this content may be upsetting or triggering for readers.

We recognize the importance of providing support for anyone who may experience trauma related to past harms while visiting this page. We encourage you to seek assistance from crisis centres if needed.


If you have questions about this project, please reach out to Manitoba Museum CEO, Dorota Blumczyńska at DBlumczynska@ManitobaMuseum.ca or (204) 988-0630.