The curator of the Indigenous collection at the Royal B.C. Museum is using his last few days at the museum to draw attention to the racism and gaslighting he says he has experienced. (Courtesy of RBCM)

The curator of the Indigenous collection at the Royal B.C. Museum is using his last few days at the museum to draw attention to the racism and gaslighting he says he has experienced. (Courtesy of RBCM)

Indigenous collections curator calls Royal B.C. Museum ‘wicked place’

Troy Sebastian alleges racism and gaslighting by museum

On the same day the Royal B.C. Museum CEO announced he is stepping down, the curator of the Indigenous collection took to Twitter to say that this will be his last week, writing that the museum “is established as a bastion of white supremacy.”

Troy Sebastian, a Ktunaxa writer, took on the curator position after Lucy Bell resigned as head of the Indigenous Collections and Repatriation Department in July 2020 citing issues of racism and a lack of diversity. Tweeting on Tuesday, Sebastian said, “the fact is that things have gotten worse since last summer when Lucy Bell raised her concerns. When the museum says it is taking action to address racism accusations it is pure gaslighting.”

RELATED: Royal BC Museum faces allegations of systemic racism, toxic work environment

Following Bell’s resignation, a third-party investigation was launched into the museum and a diversity inclusion consultant was hired to conduct training, interviews and a staff survey. In January, the results of that survey came in, and although not made public, were called “not good” by the museum’s board chair, Dan Muzyka.

“The Royal B.C. Museum has outright discrimination, white privilege, bullying, microaggression. This has been my experience as an Indigenous staff person at the museum,” Sebastian tweeted.

In its statement Tuesday, the museum said CEO Jack Lohman is stepping down “as it addresses current internal issues,” but made no mention of the survey results or allegations of racism. Speaking with Black Press Media last month, Muzyka – who will be serving as CEO until a new person is found – said the museum had begun restructuring at the executive level and developing a comprehensive training program for executives and staff.

RELATED: CEO steps down following allegations of systemic racism at Royal BC Museum

Citing article 17.3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Sebastian called on Premier John Horgan on Tuesday to commit to the declaration and hold the museum to account for “routinely discriminating against Indigenous staff.”

Speaking on Wednesday, Horgan told reporters that he was “very concerned” when he heard about the allegations of racism and that he wished Lohman the best and thanked him for his service to B.C. He said minister Melanie Mark – the only Indigenous woman in legislature – is working with the third-party investigating the museum to make sure all allegations are followed up.

Sebastian said his 6-month contract with the museum ends this Friday and he will be using his last few days to speak publicly as a staff member.

With files from Nina Grossman

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that Sebastian had resigned from his position. In fact, his term was already scheduled to end this Friday.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Greater VictoriaracismRoyal BC Museum

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Paul Lewis is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Local Hero as Arts Advocate of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore driftwood sculptor inspired by Esquimalt Lagoon

Paul Lewis is the 2021 Arts Advocate of the Year

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Cathy Armstrong, executive director of the Land Conservancy, Paul Nursey CEO of Destination Greater Victoria and Saanich Coun. Susan Brice helped to kick off the annual Greater Victoria Flower Count at Abkhazi Garden Monday. This year, the flower count is less about rubbing the region’s weather in the rest of Canada’ faces, and more about extending a bouquet of compassion and love. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
2021 Greater Victoria Flower Count sows seeds of compassion

Friendly flower count competition runs from March 3 to 10

Robert Schram, here seen in January 2016, died Saturday, according to a friend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney, Saanich Peninsula mourn the death of Mr. Beads

Bead artist Robert Schram was a familiar, well-loved figure in Sidney and beyond

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read