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The museum said in a statement that it has withdrawn a criminal complaint filed in relation to the theft.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

Drugs, stolen bike and cheques seized during RCMP search in Castlegar

Two men were taken into police custody during the search warrant

Truck thief runs out of gas, Nakusp man facing charges

Pickup stolen from Coldstream, found not far away

Morning start: This is the fastest growing city in the Kootenays

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Monday, May 25

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Snow expected to hit West Kootenay passes overnight on Thursday

Up to 15 cm of snow could fall on Highway 3 between Paulson summit to Kootenay Pass by Friday morning

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Most Read