Thursday, April 27, 2006

Totem Pole Finally Returned to Canada

A large totem pole carved in northern BC, Canada during the late 1800s was finally returned to Canada after being in a Swedish museum for about 90 years. This mortuary totem pole was carved by a chief after he lost his children to disease brought on by white settlers. It was chopped down and mysteriously taken without permission by a visiting Swedish consulate who then shipped it back by steamboat back to Sweden. It was put on display at one of the museums there ever since. The Northwest Native groups only found out about this totem pole about 15 years ago and started the long process of negotiations to repatriate it back to British Columbia.

The totem pole finally arrived back to BC this past week and will be displayed in a local museum in Vancouver. As a gesture of appreciation, local Northwest Native carvers from BC carved a replica of the returned totem pole and gave it to the Swedish museum as a gift.

For background information on totem poles, see West Coast Native Totem Poles.

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