Totem at Royal B.C. Museum on way home to Central Coast after repatriation ceremony

VICTORIA — A totem pole taken from an Indigenous village on British Columbia’s Central Coast more than 100 years ago is on its way home after a repatriation ceremony at the Royal B.C. Museum, where it had been on display.

Drummers and singers from the Nuxalk Nation participated in a ceremony today with the goal to reawaken the spirit of the totem by Louie Snow, an Indigenous carver who lost many works to the Royal B.C. Museum and other institutions.

Chief Deric Snow, a great grandson of the artist, says his ancestor’s spirit remains inside the totem and it will not be at rest until it is returned to its home at Bella Coola, B.C.

Snow says the Nuxalk Nation has been trying to repatriate the totem and other artifacts since 2019.

He says the museum has taken a historical step in the right direction with the totem’s repatriation, but other artifacts are overdue.

After two days of celebrations, a convoy of vehicles will follow the totem as it leaves Wednesday for Bella Coola, almost 1,000 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.

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