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

Team Harrison prevails in Port Alberni men’s bonspiel

Annual bonspiel drew 20 teams from out of town

Wedding plans derailed following City of Port Alberni’s train announcement

Five wedding parties are scrambling to find alternate transportation arrangements to McLean… Continue reading

Kids help Alberni Aquarium build rockfish luminary for next exhibit

Swimming For Change takes over in time for spring break

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Mount Arrowsmith skaters get tips from Olympic athlete

Larkyn Austman visited Port Alberni for winter carnival

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

Credit card fraud steals $50,000 from Victoria businesses: police

Crime Reduction Unit investigating several frauds costing several businesses over $50,000

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C.-based ‘Team Tardi’ brings home gold in junior curling worlds

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

Most Read