you decide

The Canadian Museum For Human Rights is going to be built in Winnipeg, at the Forks National Historic Site. Currently, archaeologists are "excavating" the plot of land designated for the Museum. This vision for this museum is that it will be "dramatic and inspiring", an "international destination", where people can "...commit to taking action to combat the forces of hate and oppression".

The subject of the Museum and the Forks in general is one where I don't know all of the history, but I do know that the location has been ripe for scrutiny. The site is known to have been a stomping ground for centuries of peoples, including aboriginal camping, fur trade, waves of immigration and construction of the railroad.

Also of note is that archaeologists are "excavating"the basement ... not bulldozers. Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of artifacts, including arrowheads and pottery. And now, a footprint has been unearthed. The impression is believed to be approximately 800 years old, and was found 2 metres under the surface.

I'm not intending for this to be a "news" article. But when I read that a "footprint" had been preserved in the earth for hundreds of years I had a thought. It isn't a new thought at all. But the potential irony of the situation hit me.

We are building a Museum for Human Rights, a place where we hope to train Canadians "...who are empowered to guard human rights and freedoms such as police forces and peacekeepers working overseas" on grounds, where people who have historically (and still) endured unjust and unfair treatment, walked and lived.

So what are we doing for a Museum for Human Rights?

Are we pushing them around (and out) one more time?

Are we providing sufficient memorial to their struggle?

Are we greater people for having unearthed the past?

Are we disturbing sacred ground for our own purpose?

Is it Right?

You decide.

Emily

The quotations in this post, regrading the vision and purpose of the Museum, were taken from the official website for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

http://www.canadianmuseumforhumanrights.com/index.cfm?pageID=1

You can google "winnipeg footprint discovered" to find international articles on the 800 year old find.

1 comments:

corina said...
July 23, 2008 at 12:13 PM

i get so wrapped up in daily life that i haven't brought my head up to look around. thanks for keeping me informed:) i'm glad that 'they' recognized where they are building and at the very least treating it as an excavation first. is it ironic or planned?

food for thought.

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