Historic B.C. fishing boat to stay in national museum
The Nishga Girl is especially siginificant for First Nations and Japanese Canadians
A historic B.C. fishing boat will have a place in the future Canadian Museum of History after all.
The Nishga Girl, a traditional wooden gillnetter, had been taken down and put in a warehouse storage facility as the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que. transitions into the Canadian Museum of History.
A museum spokesperson originally said the Nishga Girl no longer fit the storyline of the new Canadian Museum of History.
But after a meeting with the donors and representatives of the National Association of Japanese Canadians last week, the museum reversed its decision.
"We have concluded that the story of the Nishga Girl will continue to be told in the new Canadian history hall, but in the broader context of the histories of the Nisga’a and the Japanese-Canadian communities," said Mark O'Neill, president and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation.
The museum's former curator, as well as members of the Japanese-Canadian community, say the vessel, which sailed along the northern coast near Prince Rupert from 1968 to 1990, is an important part of West Coast history.
One of more than 200 fishing vessels built by Japanese-Canadian boat builder Judo "Jack" Tasaka, it was donated in 1998 by Nisga'a Chief Harry Nyce, who operated the boat for nearly 30 years.
"The Nishga Girl has memorialized an important period of Canadian history on the West Coast for Japanese-Canadians, the Nisga’a people and the Nyce family. More than 1,000 similar gillnet boats were seized by the government from Japanese-Canadian fishermen during the Second World War. Other gillnet boats were used by First Nations fishers for commercial and other purposes," Nyce said in a statement.
Ken Noma, president of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, said he was pleased with the announcement.
The "Nishga Girl will remain in the new Canadian Museum of History as a testament to the sacred bond between the Nisga’a First Nations and Japanese Canadians," he said.
"We recognize the importance of engaging in community consultation; to exercise cultural sensitivity in the handling and display of artifacts in collections and to move toward an inclusive history."