About the RRN

The Reciprocal Research Network (RRN) is a key component of the Museum of Anthropology's Renewal Project, "A Partnership of Peoples." In addition to the RRN, the Renewal Project comprises several complementary and innovative components, including a new Research Centre, Major Temporary Exhibition Gallery, and Community Suite. Together, they support collaborative, socially responsible, and interdisciplinary research across local, national, and international borders.

The RRN is an online tool to facilitate reciprocal and collaborative research about cultural heritage from the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. The RRN enables communities, cultural institutions and researchers to work together. Members can build their own projects, collaborate on shared projects, upload files, hold discussions, research museum projects, and create social networks. For both communities and museums, the RRN is groundbreaking in facilitating communication and fostering lasting relationships between originating communities and institutions around the world.

Who can use the RRN? The RRN is for people who are interested in and researchers of Northwest Coast Culture. This includes but is not limited to Originating Communities, First Nations Organizations, Researchers, Students, Museum Professionals, Academic and Cultural Heritage Organizations and more. If you would like to use the RRN, you can request an account!

How is the RRN different from other sites? The RRN is different because of its collaborative nature. From conception through development and into its use the RRN sees collaborative research as the foundation of the project.

Who's Involved?

The RRN is being co-developed by the Musqueam Indian Band, the Stó:lō Nation/Tribal Council, the U’mista Cultural Society and the Museum of Anthropology. This collaboration ensures the needs of the originating communities as well as museums are taken into account at all stages of the development. Each co-developer has a member on the Steering Group and each of the First Nations has several Community Liaisons.

Steering Group

The RRN Steering Group is responsible for providing project oversight to ensure the RRN will meet its stated vision and purpose. This group makes recommendations on items that do affect overall scope, schedule, or budget. Membership in the Steering Group is limited to a few key resources to make decisions both effectively and efficiently and as such is comprised of one member from each co-developer.

The RRN was co-developed by:
Musqueam Indian Band U'mista Cultural Society Stó:lō Nation Stó:lō Tribal Council Museum of Anthropology
  • Musqueam representative: Leona M. Sparrow
  • U’mista representative: Andrea Sanborn
  • Stó:lō representative: David Schaepe
  • MOA representative: Susan Rowley

Partner Institutions

The following institutions are original partners on the project and have contributed their time and collections data to the RRN.


  • Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC
  • Laboratory of Archaeology (LOA) at UBC
  • BC Archaeology Branch
  • Royal British Columbia Museum


  • Canadian Museum of Civilization
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • McCord Museum of Canadian History
  • Glenbow Museum


  • National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution
  • National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
  • Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford
  • Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge

Community Liaisons

Each Community Liaison is tasked to participate in usability testing, support, and to provide feedback to the RRN development team; this enables the Reciprocal Research Network to be built with great participation and input from the co-developer communities.

  • Musqueam liaisons: June Sparrow and Jody Felix
  • Stó:lō liaisons: Charlene Point, Wendy Ritchie, Herb Joe Jr. and Darwin Douglas
  • U’mista liaisons: Lillian Hunt, Lawrence Isaac and David Houghton

About Our Logo

Terry Point (a member of the Musqueam Indian Band) and William Wasden Jr. (William is a member of the ‘Na̱mg̱is tribe of the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw First Nations) collaborated to create the RRN logo. Both Terry and William were RRN interns in 2004-2005.

Terry suggested design elements based on traditional navigation and creation themes: messengers would travel by canoe to bring news to communities and invite them to gatherings; salmon, a symbol of renewal, navigate through streams and oceans, guided by the stars. These ideas allude to the RRN’s goal of facilitating community renewal and knowledge by navigating through the Internet and museum collection management systems. William, the artist, added his ideas: raven brought the moon, sun, fire, tides and salmon to his people.

Umeł, Chief of the Ancients Raven needs to be treated carefully, because he is the all-present trickster. He has human qualities and is able to transform himself into a man; the figure in the beak represents that ability. The dorsal fin of a killer whale is depicted by the Raven’s beak with a stylized ovoid hole in it. The front seat of a sea hunter's canoe will have a hole carved in it and when the hunter dies, the seat will become his dorsal fin when he transforms into a killer whale. The human face in the beak represents the raven's human qualities as he is able to transform between forms and also connects to the sea hunter. He holds the messenger canoe in his mouth, upside down. This refers to people saving young salmon caught in a river with low water levels by placing them in a canoe and dumping them into another river, the salmon would survive and colonize the new stream. In the centre of the canoe is a box of treasures, representing the knowledge being returned to the communities through the RRN. The salmon in the logo are wild, indicated by the presence of the adipose fins; the male is depicted above the female as if in spawning position and both their tailfins continue as negative space along the design of the raven. There are four stars with four points each, because four is a sacred number in Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw cultural beliefs. The colour is Reckitt's Blue – a laundry blueing agent introduced to the Northwest Coast and quickly adopted as a paint. William has observed that this particular blue shade is used in art around the world and seems to have close representational associations with the supernatural.