Skip to content

Celebration marks repatriation of B.C. totem to Nuxalk Nation after century-long wait

Dancing and feasting to accompany return of totem pole to its home in Bella Coola Monday
31915746_web1_20230220090232-18c3a1f7534a66e05939bfc719455c714eb990f0861d890df9f0ae9dfa662ed1
Family, friends and hereditary chiefs gather in a ceremony in Victoria on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, to witness the historical repatriation of the Nuxalk Nation totem pole after years of effort to release the pole back to the nation from the Royal BC Museum. The pole that embodies the history and culture of the Nuxalk Nation is being welcomed back to its ancestral home in Bella Coola, more than 100 years after it was taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

A carved pole that embodies the history and culture of a B.C. First Nation is being welcomed back to its ancestral home, more than 100 years after it was taken.

Dancing and feasting are among the celebrations expected in the central coast community of Bella Coola as the Nuxalk Nation marks the repatriation of the totem pole.

Carved in the mid-1800s as an entrance pole to a long house, the Snow family pole was later used as a marker for a family grave but was taken without permission in 1913 and added to a collection of the Royal B.C. Museum.

Chief Deric Snow is a descendent of the man who carved the pole and says the return is a good first step because his great-grandfather’s spirit remains inside the totem and cannot be at rest until the pole is returned home.

Snow says other Nuxalk artifacts, including canoes and totems, remain at the Royal B.C. Museum and in other museums around the world, and the First Nation continues to work for their return.

Ceremonies were held last week in Victoria as the totem was removed from the museum and loaded onto a truck for the roughly 1,000-kilometre drive back to Bella Coola.

The Canadian Press

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Repatriated Nuxalk totem pole convoy receives warm welcome in Cariboo Chilcotin

READ ALSO: Coming home: A history of the Nuxalk totem and its return to Bella Coola

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.





Pop-up banner image