Although museums are at different stages in their thinking and action about this, I got the sense that there was a (long overdue) but real transformation happening in Canadian museums. I don't think Canada is yet by any means the poster country for museums and reconciliation - there are still many instances of mis-truths, omissions, appropriations and systemic disempowerment- but I do recognize the increasing self-reflexivity among Canadian museums compared to when I was last working with them 8 years ago.
I attribute this heightened awareness of the complicity and responsibility of museums to the incredible work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2008-2015) which brought renewed public attention to the concept of cultural genocide and Canada's crimes in this regard. (Naturally indigenous people were already well aware of the concept). The TRC's final report defines cultural genocide as 'the destruction of those structures and practices that allow the group to continue as a group- through destroying political and social institutions, seizing land, forcibly moving and restricting movement of populations, banning languages and spiritual practices, persecuting spiritual leaders and confiscating cultural objects (many of which of course ended up in museums). The TRC specifically called out museums and archives in its Calls to Action 67-70, making clear the specific role of museums in the process of reconciliation. These appear to being taken seriously on a government level, but also, equally importantly, seem to have worked their way into the consciousness of the largely white museum administrators, curators, and educators across the country.
The TRCC speaks about reconciliation as establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, based on a truthful awareness of the past, acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change. It also refers to solutions from Traditional Knowledge Keepers and Elders with their long history of dealing with conflict and harm using spiritual ceremonies, peacemaking practices and stories.