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

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’s first movie theatre, started before 1920, was originally located on First Avenue, across from Alberni Hardware. This photo is one of 24,000 included in the Alberni Valley Museum’s online archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN09360 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Port Alberni’s first movie theatre

The Port Theatre was destroyed by a fire in 1952

The North Island College campus in Port Alberni is located on Roger Street. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College to offer digital and in-person classes this fall

In-person classes will be able to resume in September

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
B.C. forestry watchdog finds lack of compliance in Nahmint logging

Forest Practices Board says old growth and biodiversity near Port Alberni are at risk

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read