Museum of Vancouver returns sasquatch mask
Sts'ailes representatives celebrate their mask's return Wednesday near Agassiz. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
Seventy-five years after the Museum of Vancouver took possession of a First Nations sasquatch mask from the Sts’ailes Band near Agassiz, community members were able to celebrate its return Wednesday.
Representatives of the community, formerly called Chehalis, held a repatriation ceremony near Harrison Hot Springs to mark the return, decades after it was donated to the museum.
Crafted in 1937 or 1938 by carver Ambrose Point, the mask depicts Sasq’ets, or sasquatch, a sacred being to the Sts'ailes who believe it can move between physical and spiritual realms.
The museum's CEO said returning objects from their collections can often help “strengthen ties to a culture that was often suppressed.”
“I believe that museums have a social and cultural obligation to consider repatriating certain objects from their collections to First Nations people,” said Nancy Noble in a statement. “When objects were obtained improperly or have a high degree of cultural sensitivity within a community, repatriation seems like an obvious solution.”
Sts’ailes representatives could not be reached by press time, but the masks return came after a request late last year.