artwork of a blue sky, green grass and white trees


In late 2020, the Department of Anthropology at the University of Manitoba contacted Elders, Grandmothers, Grandfathers and Knowledge Keepers who work at UM to apologize; and to ask for their help and ongoing guidance and direction regarding Respectful Rematriation and Repatriation of Indigenous Ancestors and Belongings.

The group received the department's apology, and agreed to form the Respectful Rematriation and Repatriation Ceremony Council (RRRC Council) to assist the university in this work.

RRRC Council gives guidance and directions

The RRRC Council gave directions on how to respectfully care for Ancestors while identification work is underway; and urged the university to return and rebury the Ancestors as quickly as possible. The Council also emphasized the need for the university to accept responsibility for its violent actions, commit to truth-telling and develop a university-wide repatriation policy.

Respectful Rematriation and Repatriation is Ceremony and the RRRC Council reminds us that this is also an opportunity for healing from colonial violence.

University of Manitoba's commitment to Indigenous descendant communities

The University of Manitoba is working through the process of Respectful Rematriation and Repatriation with descendant communities through on-going engagement with First Nation, Inuit and Métis leaders and Elders. 

First and foremost, UM is committed to maintaining open communication with descendant communities and will have more information to share with the wider community later this year.

Communities can reach out to to speak directly with one of the RRRC co-chairs.

Formal apology

  • Artwork of a blue sky and yellow sun. By artist Gayle Sinclair

    Artwork by Gayle Sinclair

  • On June 3, 2024, the University of Manitoba apologized publicly for its history related to the inappropriate acquisition and housing of Indigenous ancestral remains, burial belongings and cultural heritage without consent. 

    “The University of Manitoba recognizes that healing begins with this university apologizing to the people we have profoundly hurt and deeply harmed through our actions.”

For support

The Hope for Wellness Helpline is available to all Indigenous people across Canada. Experienced and culturally competent counsellors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-855-242-3310 or via online chat at This service is available 24/7 in English and French and upon request in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut.

Progress to date

Following guidance of the RRRC Council:

  • Appropriate protocols and care have been adopted, including moving all Ancestors to a temporary and private resting room until they can be returned and reburied;
  • engagements with descendant communities are ongoing, with rematriation efforts now underway;
  • truth-telling has begun through historical research and Indigenous artistic creation; including a timeline, documentary film and a historical novel;
  • a University of Manitoba policy on repatriation was written by a Working Circle comprised of Indigenous scholars, Indigenous community representatives and other UM community members. 
  • On June 3, 2024 the University of Manitoba will publicly apologize to First Nations, Métis and Inuit descendant communities for its history related to the inappropriate acquisition and housing of Indigenous ancestral remains, burial belongings and cultural heritage without consent.

Specific details are withheld at this time to respect the sovereignty and privacy of First Nations, Inuit and Métis descendant communities.

Respectful Rematriation and Repatriation Ceremony policy and guidance document

Staying in touch

If you would like to receive updates on the Respectful Rematriation and Repatriation Ceremony at UM, please sign up for the Indigenous Connect Newsletter.

You can also reach out directly to­­­

Miigwech, Ekosi, Kinan’askomitin, Marsee, Pidamaya ye, Masi Cho, Qujannamiik, Nakurmiik for  listening.