June 22nd, 2024

Galt Museum clarifies motivation for free Indigenous admission

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on April 22, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The Galt Museum and Archives is clarifying the reasons behind free admission for those who identify as Indigenous and why they decided not to ask for proof.
“This policy related to free admissions for those of indigenous descent has been something that as an organization we’ve been talking about for the last number of years,” said Darrin Martens, CEO of the Galt Museum and Archives and Fort Whoop Up.
Martens said one of the reasons why he brought this up for discussion with the board, is that the Galt like many other museums across the country, has not seen a large participation by Indigenous communities, whether that be coming into general exhibits or participation in programming.
“We were noticing that was a significant part of the community that we were not engaging with in a meaningful way, and we saw that we could do a lot of work so that provided us with the opportunity to look around and see what other organizations are doing,” said Martens.
He said they looked in particular at the United Nations’ declaration on the human rights of Indigenous peoples.
“As we were sort of looking over that text, all of the grave sites were found in Kamloops and continue to be found in these residential schools areas, so out of looking at the UN declaration and in light of all these horrors being rediscovered we looked at other institutions that have implemented similar policies,” said Martens.
Some of the institutions they looked at for similar policies included the Canadian Museum of Human Rights located in Winnipeg, the National Gallery of Canada and the Royal Alberta Museum.
“Each organization has at different points embraced this type of policy, in the hopes of engaging more of the Indigenous community,” said Martens.
He said they have been creating and developing Indigenous exhibitions, bringing in Indigenous exhibitions, working with the Blackfoot community to create exhibitions that would be of interest to them through their own voices, through their own words.
“We were developing these exhibitions and not seeing the community participate, and whether that was transportation barriers or economic barriers in paying admissions, we thought that this is a real opportunity to do this,” said Martens.
He said the Galt Museum will be receiving a Blackfoot name next week which is a symbol of trust, of partnership, of ongoing relationships with the Blackfoot community.
Part of that trust has been put back into the community when it comes to the self identification as an Indigenous person to gain free admission to the museum.
“We take them at their word. We specifically chose not to request treaty cards or anything like that, because a treaty card is a symbol of colonialism and while many Indigenous people continue to live on reserves under the Indian Act, there are other Indigenous people around the world that do not,” said Martens.
He said it is also up to each individual’s conscience, and it is not up to the Galt Museum and Archives to determine someone’s level of Indigenous heritage.
“For us to take a position in defending your ‘indigenousness’, I would say is extremely condescending, very colonial and takes us even further back if we’re asking people to prove themselves,” said Martens.
He said that even though the free admission is for self identified Indigenous people, there are other ways non-Indigenous people can have access to the museum free of charge.
“We have partnered with the Lethbridge Public Library for many years and for those that are facing some economic barriers to coming to the museum, they are able to go to the library and check out an adult card and basically come to the museum for free.”
He said they have noticed over the years a number of community members have utilized that service and he is working with the board to create other alternatives for the near future.

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Citi Zen

My tax dollars pay to support that place. I cannot get free admission. I am white.
What would happen if the Galt gave free admission to whites, but charged a fee for indigenous?

Last edited 2 years ago by Citi Zen

Our tax dollars also pay for mental health services.
Just sayin’


Citi Zen: did you know an important legal principle exists which states that ignorance is no excuse?
In this instance, it is your publicly stated ignorance implying Indigenous people do not pay taxes.
Moreover, as the article states, if you are facing economic barriers, you may utilize the free admission provided through the joint venture between the Galt Museum and the Lethbridge Public Library.
BTW, when was the last time you visited the Museum and which exhibits did you see?


To Citi Zen:

I guess you have to go back where you come from, lot of our items were stolen by, “I believe possibly,” individuals like yourself; who showed no consideration of Indigenous People allowing and sharing our territories and prospering from it.


So I take it you will be returning to Isreal from whence your lamanite ancestors left ?? Please feel free to leave a list of the things you claim were stolen on your way out the door.


It will be interesting to see a report from the Galt next year showing the result of this initiative, and if in fact the number of Indigenous visitors to the museum will have increased because admission was the barrier.


Indeed Lethrez, it will be interesting to see, particularly if the “indigeneous visitors” are cut from the same cloth as the homeless, drug addicted , hookers and pusher “visitors” who have made the Library, the Bus Barn and Galt Gardens, to name a few, such joyful places to attend. But then, when the woke insist on giving everything a Blackfoot name and a “free pass” it should perhaps come as no surprise that they show up , camp out and take over. Too bad, the Galt and the Fort used to be places to take out of town visitors…I suspect that will change and not for the better.


Self-declared nominees (potentially winners) of a Walking Eagle Award:
Just Observing
Citi Zen


You are a real comedian IMO…here’s one for you : Winner of the absolutely nothing useful to contribute and equally unable to refute a proposition award : IMO. …with an Honourable mention for utilizing the woke tactic of ” if you can’t attack a comment attack the commentator “.