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Responsive Dialogues: Racism in Canada

How should museums respond to current events or issues in the world? MOA started an initiative, Rapid Response Case, in September 2017, to curate a small display case in the lobby to address pressing issues of the moment by making connections to what we do at MOA. As we transitioned many things to #MOAFromHome: Stay Connected Online during the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to promote constructive social activism that aims to create positive change through different channels.

The first dialogue in our new Responsive Dialogues series is about racism in Canada. Recent anti-Black and anti-Asian violence in communities across North America has focused our attention on the deeply rooted racism in Canada and around the world. Critically, the continued racism and oppression that is directed at Indigenous communities is a systemic problem that has been plagued this country for many generations, through state and institutional policies.

We start this series with Racism in Colonial Canada: An Indigenous Perspective, an interview with Jacqueline (Jacquie) Adams with Emily Teh, MOA’s Library + Archives Assistant.


A Dialogue on Anti-Chinese Racism: Linking the Past to the Present

Tzu-I Chung and Bonnie Sun meeting over Zoom.

In this dialogue, Dr. Tzu-I Chung, curator of history at the Royal British Columbia Museum, and MOA’s Senior Marketing and Communications Manager Bonnie Sun consider anti-Asian racism, particularly anti-Chinese racism, through the lens of history and the contributions of the first generations of Chinese immigrants to Canada.

Anti-Asian Racism in the Historical Context: The Dispossession of Japanese Canadians

Sherri Kajiwara and Fuyubi Nakamura meeting over Zoom.

In this dialogue, Sherri Kajiwara, director and curator of the Nikkei National Museum and MOA Curator of Asia, Fuyubi Nakamura consider anti-Asian racism in the context of historical injustice done to the Japanese Canadian communities in relation to the Broken Promises exhibition at the Nikkei National Museum, which derives from the seven-year collaborative research project, Landscapes of Injustice. Learn about the Landscapes of Injustice project and view this searchable archive database.

Racism in Colonial Canada: An Indigenous Perspective

Zoom still of Jacquie Adams and Emily Teh speaking to each other.
Jacquie Adams and Emily Teh meeting over Zoom.

In our first dialogue, MOA’s Library + Archives Assistant, Emily Teh, speaks with Jacqueline (Jacquie) Adams, who is from Ahousaht and ʔiiḥatisatḥ činax̣int First Nation, about her perspective on racism in Canada. Read now.



Related Stories

A Taste of Rumsalt: Sounds of Resistance

A smiling Xhalida September holds up her fist in the midst of a march. People behind her carry signs and wear masks.
Xhalida September at a march.

Sounds of resistance have echoed around the world for generations, crossing continents and oceans. In this episode of A Taste of RumSalt, father and daughter Steve and Xhalida September share the history of their families and their intergenerational, international activism for the equal treatment and respect for Black lives. Listen now.




Viruses Have No Nationality: Images of “Asia” during the Pandemic

Photo: Fuyubi Nakamura.

MOA Curator Fuyubi Nakamura wrote a response to anti-asian sentiments during the earlier days of the pandemic. Learn about her experiences wearing masks—which are often racialized— in public, and consider the impacts of images of “Asia” during the pandemic.  Read now.




MOA Minds: Who Do Museums Stand With? 

Titilope Salami speaks on Zoom. CC text says: I mean African art as, the prices.
Titilope Salami in Episode 1 of MOA Minds.

Who do museums stand with? What do they stand against? How are some museums transforming themselves into new platforms to engage in the struggle for social and environmental justice? In this episode of MOA Minds Titilope Salami, guest curator, and Anthony Shelton, Director of MOA, discuss issues around the roles and responsibilities of museums and galleries in an increasingly polarized world and ask how they can become effective activists. Watch now.


In Process: Decolonizing MOA’s African Collections + Displays

L–R: MOA Collection: K2.296 a-b, K2.241 a-b, K2.297 a-b, K2.295 a-b. Photo by Alina Ilyasova.

MOA Curator for Africa and South America Nuno Porto details the ongoing project to decolonize the African Collections and Displays at the Museum of Anthropology, or DAC-MOA as it is called internally in this MOA story. One of their key goals is to contribute towards the “decolonization” of academic, pedagogical and museum practices. Read now.