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Janis Kahentóktha Montour appointed first Indigenous executive director of the Canadian Museums Association

Community ProfileJanis Kahentóktha Montour appointed first Indigenous executive director of the Canadian Museums Association

The Canadian Museums Association and Woodland Cultural Centre announced that Janis Kahentóktha Monture has been appointed as the executive director & CEO of the Canadian Museums Association on Monday, February 6. 

“As the president of the CMA I am thrilled to welcome Janis Monture into the role of executive director. Janis brings an invaluable set of skills as an experienced administrator, leader and community builder,” said Heather George. “Additionally, as someone with experience across the creative sector, Janis is the perfect person to broaden the CMAs relationships with both governmental and business partners. We look forward to working with her as CMA looks to the future of our organization and sector.”

Monture is currently serving as executive director of the Woodland Cultural Centre (WCC), one of the largest facilities in Canada managed and administered by a First Nation and a CMA member since 1986.

“Janis Monture has been instrumental in leading positive change and crystallizing the vision forward for revitalization and preservation of Onkwehon:we and Anishinaabek culture, language and spirituality,” said Allison Lynn, director of Woodland Cultural Centre. “Janis passionately advocates for the voices of Indigenous communities and cultures within the museum sector, with a focus on strengthening connections beyond the walls within Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike.”

Monture is a member of the Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River and comes to the CMA as a highly skilled and experienced leader. She has served 16 years at WCC over two separate terms where she led an important transition for Woodland, as the centre approached its 50th anniversary and the redevelopment and restoration of the Mohawk Institute, a former Residential School, into an interpretive centre.

She has additionally served on the steering committee for the Great Lakes Research Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Cultures, and twice as a guest artistic director at Harbourfront Centre, a leading contemporary arts organization in Toronto. She has also served as the Director of Tourism and Cultural Initiatives for the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation.

Her appointment was the result of an extensive search process that included the evaluation of eight search firms and over 20 candidates. A hiring committee of 12 museum professionals reached a unanimous decision with the support of BIPOC Executive Search. The committee included CMA Board members as well as representatives from CMA staff, the Provincial and Territorial Museums Associations, CMA Fellows and the Emerging Museum Professionals Canada.

“I am excited to work with Ms. Monture as she takes on the leadership of the CMA,” said Tracy Calogheros, CEO of The Exploration Place Museum + Science Centre and Vice-President, Canadian Museums Association. “Museums come in all shapes and sizes, and exist in different cultures and communities across this Land; Janis Monture has first-hand experience leading change, within the constraints we all face in small and mid-sized institutions. Bringing her expertise and lived experiences to bear, I believe Janis is poised to help evolve the organization, and the industry itself, country-wide.”

Monture is the first Indigenous person to hold the role of executive director in the CMA’s 76-year history. In addition to supporting ongoing efforts at the CMA to implement the recommendations of the recent Moved to Action report that answered TRC Call to Action #67, Monture will undertake the examination and expansion of the CMA’s capacity to support a healthy museum sector, engaging those interested in and affected by CMA’s activities and developing its international relationships.

Monture will begin her appointment on February 27, 2023, the first day of the CMA’s 2023 National Conference.

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