Congratulations to Herman Yellow Old Woman, recipient of the 2020 Lieutenant Governor’s Award! This Award recognizes Herman’s instrumental role in championing the rights of Indigenous communities to represent themselves and to have a voice in creating and shaping museum spaces.
Herman Yellow Old Woman is presented with the 2020 Lieutenant Governor's Award.
In selecting Herman for this Award, the AMA Board of Directors recognizes his spirit of giving and important role in establishing best practices for the Alberta museum community. Herman’s achievements at a provincial, national, and international level have made an exceptional impact and contribution to Alberta’s museum community.
Among these achievements, Herman was a key member of the committee behind Glenbow’s Nitsitapiisinni Gallery, created to reflect the Blackfoot worldview. The Gallery has been internationally recognized as one of the first exhibits told from an Indigenous perspective and is the epitome of the reconciliation and healing museums are now striving for.
One of Herman’s most impactful contributions to the museum sector has been his fight for the repatriation of Chief Crowfoot’s regalia from The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, UK, an effort that began over a decade ago. Alongside his colleagues at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park, Herman worked tirelessly to educate both the public and Exeter City Council about the importance of Blackfoot Cultural Patrimony, and encouraged them to see clothing not as objects or artifacts but as living beings – ancestors who, upon their return to their people, have the ability to help heal the harms done by the colonial legacy of museums. This year, the hard work paid off when Exeter agreed that Crowfoot should be returned to the Siksika Nation. Said Mr. Yellow Old Woman: “I feel like we're bringing his spirit home.”
Herman was instrumental in the development of the First Nations Sacred Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Act (FNSCORA), and the repatriation of over 260 sacred and ceremonial objects from Glenbow’s collections and many more from other museum collections. He has cared for museum collections worldwide by conducting ceremony, visiting and caring for sacred bundles and the ancestors residing in museums in Canada and internationally.
Herman has left an indelible mark on Alberta’s museum sector. His contributions are a gift to future generations, not only for the Blackfoot, but for museum professionals navigating the changing role of museums in society and the necessary work of reconciliation.