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The museum said in a statement that it has withdrawn a criminal complaint filed in relation to the theft.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

SD 52 fires superintendent

Dr. Irene LaPierre removed from position immediately.

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Necropsy for Port Edward wolf is scheduled

Wolf sightings in Prince Rupert have increased

Wolf killed in Port Edward

Samples to be sent to lab. for testing

Why I relay

Cancer survivor learns to heal

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Vancouver Island school principal mourns brother, cousin killed during U.S. protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

Most Read