Huu-ay-aht cultural treasures make their way home

Royal BC Museum returns several Huu-ay-aht First Nation artifacts as part of the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement.

George Field

The Huu-ay-aht First Nation will celebrate the repatriation of a number of cultural treasures from the Royal BC Museum with a ceremony at the Alberni Athletic Hall in Port Alberni on Saturday, Nov. 19.

It has been more than 100 years since some of these cultural treasures left Huu-ay-aht’s territory, and it is with excitement that the Nation will re-awaken the treasures and bring them home.

“The return of these cultural treasures is a clear sign of reconciliation that will not only help us heal our ancient spirit, but it will also revive it,” explained Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “As a Nation, we look forward to the treasures coming home.”

Objects include a wooden ceremonial screen; two Thunderbird masks and a single collection of 37 small carvings of birds; five objects associated with whaling and whaling rituals (including a whaler’s cape or charm, head band, rattle, charm and whaling float) and eight basketry objects.

The items were returned to the Huu-ay-aht on Friday, Nov. 18 as part of the historic Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement, completed in 2011 with the governments of British Columbia and Canada, the Huu-ay-aht will reclaim some of their cultural heritage and art from the Museum in a physical and legal transfer.

“The Royal BC Museum has held these treasures in trust for their rightful owners, who are now taking them back to their place of origin and deepest meaning, their cultural home,” said Royal BC Museum CEO Prof. Jack Lohman. “We hope that this act of repatriation will inspire other museums to do the same in the spirit of reconciliation.”

This is the first transfer of artifacts to be completed under the terms of the Maa-nulth Final Agreement. In total, 51 Huu-ay-aht cultural treasures from the Royal BC Museum collections catalogue are named in the Maa-nulth Final Agreement for return to the Huu-ay-aht.

Of the 51 cultural treasures identified, the other 34 will remain at the Royal BC Museum until the Huu-ay-aht First Nations request their transfer.

“The province is committed to work with First Nations, community by community, to create positive economic and social change,” explained John Rustad, minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.

“Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ cultural treasures play an integral role in the continuation of their culture, values and traditions, and the Province is committed to doing everything it can to reunite interested Aboriginal peoples with their cultural belongings.”

A private, invitation only repatriation celebration takes place from 12–2 p.m. at the Athletic Hall, 3727 Roger St. in Port Alberni.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Port Alberni Black Sheep win match against Island rivals

Black Sheep squared off against the Nanaimo Hornets for TC Cup action

11th annual Magic Cottage kicks off this weekend in Port Alberni

Cottage will be open over two weekends in November

Port Alberni RCMP hold second bike registration event

Project 529 will be at Canadian Tire on Saturday, Nov. 17

Husky Gas Station robbed on Third Avenue

Port Alberni RCMP still searching for suspect

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read