Thursday, September 18, 2003
The Namgis of Alert Bay, British Columbia are seeking the return of a mask from the British Museum. The mask was confiscated in 1921 by a local government Indian agent and a police sergeant during a raid on a potlatch ceremony. These ceremonies were outlawed by the Canadian government from 1884 to 1951 in an effort to repress native language and culture. The British Museum, in its extreme arrogance, feels that their "duty to scholars" is a higher calling than is returning the mask to the Namgis, restoring their cultural heritage and returning stolen property.