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Quebec premier defends new museum on Québécois nation after Indigenous criticism

Quebec Premier François Legault is defending his comments about a new history museum after he was accused by a prominent First Nations group of trying to erase their history.

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador criticized Legault’s April 25 comments that suggested the province’s history began with the arrival of French explorers Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain in the 16th and 17th century.

They said in a news release that the choice to exclude Indigenous people during the conception of the museum amounts to “systemic erasure” of their presence and contributions to Quebec.

Legault said today his comments were made in the context of his announcement of the museum, which he said will focus specifically on the history of the French-speaking Québécois nation. 

He says the 11 Indigenous nations in Quebec likely don’t consider themselves part of the Québécois nation, but he says their contributions will nonetheless be included in the Musée national de l’histoire du Québec.

Legault said in April that the new national history museum will open in 2026 and will honour Québécois artists such as Céline Dion and Les Cowboys Fringants, as well as authors, sporting heroes and business successes such as Hydro-Québec.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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