Police are looking for three aboriginal people who were in a white truck who they say are connected to cutting down the Hupacasath welcome sign on the Alberni Highway.

First Nation’s welcome sign vandalized with chainsaw in Alberni

An outpouring of support is flooding into the offices of the Hupacasath after their welcome sign on the Alberni Highway was cut down

An outpouring of support is flooding into the offices of the Hupacasath First Nation after their welcome sign on the Alberni Highway was cut down with a chainsaw.

Police were called to the Alberni Highway in front of Alberni Toyota Saturday morning after passers-by noticed an individual or individuals vandalizing a large sign on the edge of the property.

The sign read “Hupacasath Welcomes You. The First Peoples of the Valley”.

“Someone used a chainsaw to cut it down,” RCMP Const. Erica Shiguere said.

Alberni Valley Crimestoppers is reporting that witnesses reported a white pickup truck with three occupants described as “native males with stuff over their faces so they can’t be recognized”.

Investigators continue to review evidence and the investigation is ongoing, Shiguere said.

No other property at Alberni Toyota was damaged, general manager Jim Pelk said.

Hupacasath officials are scratching their heads over why someone would make visitors feel unwelcome by cutting down a welcome sign.

“We were very disappointed that someone would destroy a beautiful piece of artwork like that,” Hupacasath Chief Councillor Steven Tatoosh said. “I hope this is not done out of hatred for aboriginal people.”

Tatoosh wouldn’t speculate who committed the vandalism or why, saying that the police investigation is still underway.

The sign was painted by local artist Brad Piatka and was erected last winter. It was part of an accommodation agreement the Hupacasath reached with Alberni Toyota after the facility expanded into lands Hupacasath claim as their own.

Tribal officials are meeting with Alberni Toyota management to discuss the incident, Tatoosh said.

The tribe is also considering offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the persons responsible, he said.

The tribe’s office has been inundated with calls from non-aboriginal people encouraging the tribe to put the sign back up. “We’ve even been getting calls from people on the Lower Mainland who are offering donations to help rebuild it,” Tatoosh said.

Tatoosh said the whole community doesn’t deserve to be cast in a bad light because of the incident. “I still believe that Port Alberni is the place with a heart, not the place with a black heart.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/AlberniNews

Just Posted

Go Bearfoot in the Park and help kids too in Port Alberni

Fundraising event will take place at Blair Park on Aug. 24

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Two B.C. suspects of a Canada-wide manhunt reportedly recorded a cellphone video… Continue reading

Sproat Lake residents oppose large-scale cannabis production in their neighbourhood

Community group calls public meeting for Aug. 21 to discuss implications to ACRD land

Firefighters extinguish brush fire near Port Alberni residential area

Fire off Kitsuksis Creek Trail believed to be human-caused

BCHL: Battle for Bulldogs’ roster spots heats up as main camp begins

Alberni Valley’s new head coach will get his first look at revamped Jr. A hockey team

UPDATE: Wildfire burning east of Port Alberni

Fire is measured at 3.1 hectares

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Hearings begin as Vancouver Island mom fights for allegedly abducted daughter

Tasha Brown now in Jersey in the British Isles, fundraiser being held in Nanaimo

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab in Surrey

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about aide’s legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Most Read