The University of Toronto has signed a Memorandum of Understanding
allowing for the repatriation of remains and artifacts to the Huron
Wendat Nation. This MoU was signed at a ceremony in Wendake, near
Quebec City on November 29th, 2011.
The University of Toronto sits on land that was the home of the Huron
Wendat until the late 17th century. Primarily during the middle part
of the last century, faculty, staff and students of the University
participated in archaeological excavations of many sites in southern
Ontario, sites that were the homes of Huron Wendat ancestors. As a
result, today the University holds many remains and artifacts gathered
from those locations.
While the approaches followed in those excavations conformed with the
attitudes of academia and society at the time, those attitudes have
changed. The Memorandum of Understanding allows for the repatriation
of those remains and artifacts in a culturally and spiritually
appropriate way as determined by the Huron Wendat people. The actual
transfer of the remains will occur when the Huron Wendat Nation has
secured a final resting place for the remains and artifacts, but the
signing of the Memorandum of Understanding is an important step in the
process. The Memorandum of Understanding further establishes a
process of cooperation between the University of Toronto and the
Huron-Wendat Nation for the continued development of knowledge
regarding the history of their people. The University is grateful to
the Huron-Wendat Nation for its commitment to preservation of
knowledge and further research.
The agreement was signed on behalf of the University by Professor
Cheryl Regehr, Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and by Grand Chief
Konrad Sioui, on behalf of the Huron Wendat Nation. Also present at
the signing were Professor Meric Gertler, Dean of the Faculty of Arts
and Science; Professor Amy Mullin, Dean of the University of Toronto
Mississauga, Professor Susan Pfeiffer of the Department of
Anthropology, and Mr. Steve Moate, Legal Counsel to the University.