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

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
Nanaimo-raised singer records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah closes out the movie

The Gabriola Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express fleet will be able to move to a new depot facility after receiving more than $187,000 of community economic recovery infrastructure program money from the Province of B.C. (Submitted photo)
Gabriola bus system receives $188,000 from province for depot building

Old fire hall to be retrofitted and serve as new bus terminal thanks to COVID-19 recovery funding

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing leads to stabbing in Nanaimo

Suspect arrested on Gabriola Island an hour after incident Wednesday, Feb. 24

Submissions are open for Vancouver Island Regional Library’s new online arts and literature magazine, ‘Sea and Cedar.’ (Bulletin file photo)
Submissions sought for library’s new digital arts and literature publication

‘Sea and Cedar’ magazine an initiative of Nanaimo Harbourfront Library

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools. (News Bulletin photo)
Bear seen at Park Avenue Elementary School field in Nanaimo

Students being advised to walk in groups and avoid the bushes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region

A BC Ferries worker out of Swartz Bay has tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Swartz Bay ferry worker confirmed to have COVID-19

Employees in direct contact with worker now isolating

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Nanaimo’s Joanne Secord is a quarterfinalist in Inked Magazine’s Cover Model Search contest. (Janayh Wright Photography)
50-year-old Nanaimo mom hopes her tattoos will earn her a magazine cover shoot

Joanne Secord on cusp of semifinals in Inked Magazine contest

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Nanaimo Courthouse. (News Bulletin file photo)
Motorist sentenced to two years for dangerous driving causing death on Gabriola Island

William Goosman pleaded guilty last fall in connection with incident that killed Jay Dearman

Most Read