Sdahl Ḵ’awaas (Lucy Bell) | 2021 Sterling Prize Ceremony and Lecture: Challenging the role of museums in an era of reconciliation

2021, Equity + Justice, Sterling Prize, Indigenous Voices

Sdahl Ḵ’awaas (also known as Lucy Bell) is the recipient of the 2021 Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy for her bravery in calling out racism in the heritage field and advocating for change in an era of reconciliation. 

In 2020, Sdahl Ḵ’awaas resigned as the head of the Indigenous Collections and Repatriation Department at the Royal British Columbia Museum, citing personal and institutional racism. Since then, Sdahl Ḵ’awaas, a member of the Haida Nation, has called on museums to reflect on themselves and be more accountable, anti-racist institutions. She says now is the time for museums to reflect on their colonial legacy, foster better relationships with Indigenous people and address racism within the workplace. 

Sdahl Ḵ’awaas, who continues to support the Haida Nation’s repatriation efforts while working toward her Ph.D. in individualized interdisciplinary studies at Simon Fraser University, will receive the Sterling Prize and deliver a lecture on these issues on Thursday, Oct. 14. The award ceremony will be held at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver and will be livestreamed for the public.

After a short lecture, Sdahl Ḵ’awaas will engage in a conversation with Jisgang (Nika Collison), the executive director of the Haida Gwaii Museum and a board member of the Royal BC Museum; Sharanjit Kaur Sandhra, UBC history Ph.D. candidate and co-curator of exhibits at the Sikh Heritage Museum; and the audience.

Hear more from Sdahl Ḵ’awaas in this SFU News story and in the video below.

Thu, 14 Oct 2021

6:30 p.m. (PT)

Online event

ASL interpretation and closed captioning in English will be available at this event.

About the Sterling Prize

The Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy was first awarded in 1993 and remains committed to recognizing work that provokes and contributes to the understanding of controversy, while presenting new ways of looking at the world and challenging complacency. The prize recognizes work across disciplines and departments and is awarded annually by the Sterling Prize committee.


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