Montreal vandals weren’t in ‘sober state of mind’ when totem pole hand taken: museum

The totem pole, a symbol of reconciliation and commemoration, pays tribute to children

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts says a hand taken from a totem pole last month was quietly returned to the museum overnight Tuesday.

Museum officials said the left hand of the Indigenous artwork by Kwakiutl artist Charles Joseph had been removed on Sept. 20 in an act of vandalism.

The totem pole, a symbol of reconciliation and commemoration, pays tribute to children — including the British Columbia-based Joseph — who lived through the residential school system.

The hand was returned and will allow the museum to restore the piece, which is on loan and has been in front of a museum pavilion on Sherbrooke Street since 2017.

The museum said in a statement that it has withdrawn a criminal complaint filed in relation to the theft. There was surveillance footage of the incident.

Officials said those responsible for taking the hand apologized for any pain and anger they’d caused.

ALSO READ: Indigenous Artist Archie Andrew Chases A Vision

The museum released an excerpt of note left with the hand, which said they regretted their actions and added they didn’t realize the significance of the totem pole.

“At the time, we were not in a sober state of mind, and we had no idea what the totem pole was,” they wrote. “After we realized what this stood for and represented for so many people, we immediately felt sick to our stomach.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Art sessions coming to Keremeos park

Four art programs will be offered in Pine Park From late June through July

Tap Truck Okanagan launches as first location in Canada

The business is built on a restored 1957 Chevy panel van and ready to serve craft beer on tap, wine or cider

Crews building structure at former Summerland train station site

West Summerland Station will pay tribute to railway history, serve as trail marker

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

Additional Penticton washrooms open in time for weekend

Washrooms at Riverside, Skaha Lake Park, Okanagan Lake Park, more, now open

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read