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.