Premier concerned over allegations of racism at Royal BC Museum

Premier concerned over allegations of racism at Royal BC Museum
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WatchAnother staff member of the Royal BC Museum is coming out with allegations of racism and discrimination at the Royal BC Museum. Last year, the head of Indigenous Collections quit after she raised allegations of a toxic workplace. As Mary Griffin reports, the premier weighed in today on the controversy.

Another staff member of the Royal BC Museum is coming forward with allegations of racism and discrimination.

Troy Sebastian, curator of Indigenous collections at the Royal BC Museum, did not pull his punches when describing his experience working there.

“The museum is unaccountable,” Sebastian said on Wednesday. “I mean, it says that it’s taking our concerns seriously. Museum says it’s trying to address it. But it has yet to acknowledge that systemic racism exists in the Royal BC Museum.”

Sebastian said it’s time for change to address systemic racism within the institution.

“Consequences must be here in B.C. for enacting systemic racism against Indigenous people,” he said.

It’s just the latest bombshell against one of Vancouver Island’s most popular tourist destinations.

In July, the head of the museum’s Indigenous collections, Lucy Bell resigned citing a toxic workplace, triggering an investigation by the Public Service Agency.

And yesterday, it was announced that the museum’s chief executive officer, Jack Lohan, is stepping down.

His resignation comes less than a month after the First Nations Leadership Council issued a statement saying it was disturbed by reports of “ongoing systemic racism and toxic working conditions” at the Royal BC Museum.

Tsartlip First Nation chief Don Tom said it’s frustrating to see racism come up again and again.

“I think, for me personally, it’s disheartening and frustrating to see racism come up again time and time again,” he said.

Tom wants to see the provincial government step up and deal with the issue.

“It’s time that the B.C. government act upon it . . . and I think introduce some type of legislation where people can address some of the inequities in the racism that’s clearly affecting indigenous people here in B.C.,” he said.

Premier John Horgan on Wednesday said a report by the PSA into the allegations at the museum will be made public when it is complete.

He also agrees with Tom’s remarks.

“With respect to Chief Tom’s comments about legislation, we are working on legislation that we hope to introduce this year anti-racism legislation not just towards indigenous peoples but across the board,” Horgan said during a press conference Wednesday.

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RELATED: Royal BC Museum CEO resigns

 

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