Letter of Support from Jason Kenney

Hon. Jason Kenney, PC, MP

June 18, 2013
Mark O’Neill
President and Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Museum of Civilization
100 Laurier Street
Gatineau, Quebec

Dear Mr. O’Neill: I am writing this letter on behalf of Canada’s Japanese community, who have expressed concern about the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s decision to remove the Nishga Girl.

The Nishga Girl has great symbolic importance. It represents gill net boats seized from Canadian fishermen of Japanese origin during the Second World War and the arrival in Canada by boat of the first Japanese immigrants. This is a significant part of Canada’s history which suits the new display that will offer a narrative of our country’s history.

The Japanese community raised funds to pay for the Nishga Girl’s shipment from the West Coast to this National museum, fifteen years ago. It is regrettable that this gift is now to be shipped back. This decision is particularly unfortunate as it comes on the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Government’s historic 1988 apology for the internment of Canadians of Japanese ancestry during the Second World War.

The Nishga Girl also reflects the history of the First Nations people who rode on this fishing vessel. It is not just merely an inanimate object to them, but rather is believed by many to contain the spirit of their people.

I fully acknowledge and respect the independence of the Museum’s Board and its decisions as they relate to exhibits and content, but I wanted to share the concerns expressed by the National Association of Japanese Canadians and the Nishga First Nations. Thank you taking e time to consider my views.



Hon. Jason Kenney, PC, MP
cc: James Moore, PC, MP, Minister of Canadian Heritage

View original Letter from Jason Kenney

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