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Rossland Museum dedicates multiculturalism grant to Sinixt project

The project is called Recognizing Klwist, which means ‘up high’ in Snslxcin (Sinixt dialect)
The Rossland museum hosted a Snslxcin language workshop by the Autonomous Sinixt at last year’s Canada Day event. Photo: Rossland museum

The Rossland Historical Museum and Discovery Centre will receive $5,000 from the BC Multiculturalism grant program to go towards developing Sinixt projects.

Museum director Joelle Hodgins says they are very excited about the project that has been a work in progress for eight years.

“Collectively, we’ve called them Recognizing Klwist, ‘up high’ in Snslxcin (Sinixt dialect).”

The Rossland museum has developed a special relationship with the Autonomous Sinixt Nation, establishing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Sinixt in February, 2022.

“This is a community engagement project centred around Sinixt traditional ecological knowledge, language revitalization, sharing artistic practice, and developing cultural competencies for RMDC staff and volunteers,” said Hodgins.

“We recently formalized an MOU with the Autonomous Sinixt that guides our ongoing relationship and engagement as well as designating us as a temporary repository for Autonomous Sinixt research and collections as needed.”

The funding is provided by the annual multiculturalism and anti-racism grant program to support projects that build intercultural interaction, trust and understanding, or challenge racism, hate and systemic barriers.

In 2022-23, the program focused on projects that seek to reduce systemic racism, hate incidents, and build capacity in racialized communities.

In the MOU agreement, the Rossland Museum is committed to protect and preserve cultural assets and share traditions from the Autonomous Sinixt perspective.

The partnership includes the museum becoming a “Designated Repository” for the care, storage, and possible display of Sinixt artifacts, contemporary objects such as works of art, and other materials.

The museum is now the caretaker of a pair of intricately woven Sinixt baskets, which are “four to six grannies old”, and are on long term loan to the Rossland Museum.

The grant will assist in developing projects that foster relationships and keep lines of communication open and receptive.

“It is definitely ongoing work, but this grant is a great kick start!” said Hodgins. “It’s important to make sure that we are doing our best to be in right relationship with the Sinixt as we obviously live and operate on Sinixt territory.”

Hodgins says the museum continues discussions with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Sinixt Confederacy, and that the project will include a site visit with some of the museum’s contacts in Washington in the near future.

Read: ‘Beyond Extinction: A Sinixt Resurgence’

Jim Bailey

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