The Way Forward

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society was established in 1878 and is one of the oldest historical societies in Canada. Over the past 143 years, its activities and publications have inevitably reflected changing social attitudes and values. The Executive and Council recognize and acknowledge the colonial roots embedded in the creation and life of the Society, and believe it is now time to examine our own history. Indeed, as The Lord Dalhousie Panel Report on Slavery and Race recently noted, it is important to look back in order to move forward


We thus intend to begin the process of exploring, with learning and reflection, our role in shaping the interpretation of Nova Scotia’s settler historical narrative. The objective is ultimately to craft brief new foundation statements that embody our current values of diversity and inclusion, and our commitments to the future. We greatly value the perspectives of our membership and invite all members of the Society to participate and help guide us through this undertaking.


We anticipate that opportunities for broader consultation will be identified and extended in the coming months, and that appropriate updates will be shared as the exercise proceeds. We look forward to these discussions, and to the renewed sense of purpose which they will bring to the Society. We believe the best approach for such an undertaking is to create a small Working Group with no more than six members.  Beginning in October this group will meet, likely monthly, to develop: 1) an action plan, timeline and anticipated deliverables; 2) a plan for appropriate facilitated consultation, to include voices new to the Society; and 3) time permitting, early drafts for foundation documents such as mission, vision and/or values statements.


Interested in this initiative? We’re looking for 6 participants – 4 from Council, 2 from the Society’s general membership. Former Executive and Council members are especially welcome. Please let us know by October 15, 2021 if you’d like to join us by emailing


This is an ambitious but manageable approach which we believe will enable the Group to provide a preliminary report and recommendations by late February 2022. This is also an opportunity for members to contribute directly to meaningful change in the life of our organization – we hope you’ll be interested in participating!   


On behalf of the RNSHS Executive and Council, Lois Yorke/President

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