A Huu-ay-aht drum hangs next to cedar branches and feathers.
Photo Credit: Huu-ay-aht First Nations / Facebook

Artifacts Coming Home to Huu-ay-aht

Royal BC Museum is sending treasures home

Huu-ay-aht treasures are “scattered all over the world”

The Huu-ay-aht First Nations have gotten a $35,000 grant to bring home more of their treasures from the Royal BC Museum.

Huu-ay-aht artifacts were taken from the region and put into museums all over the world. But, for decades, one of the only ways Huu-ay-aht people could see their cultural antiques was to visit the Royal BC Museum in Victoria.

Some treasures were returned in 2016. At that time, the Museum gave back carvings, paintings, and woven baskets. These have been on display at the Huu-ay-aht Government Office in Anacla.

Head hereditary chief ƛiišin, Derek Peters, says the new grant will help the Huu-ay-aht people find more treasures still sitting in the Museum.

There are plans in the works to build a cultural centre in Anacla where the artifacts will live.

“It’s a big task. From identifying them to moving them to our community and having that facility and infrastructure,” Peters told CBC Radio.

Peters says they will rely on the knowledge of elders and experts to help them find the artifacts in the Museum’s collection. Staff from the Museum will work with Huu-ay-aht people to make sure the treasures are stored in ways that will protect them.

There is no specific treasure that Peters is excited to see. Instead, he’s just really honoured to be at a place where First Nations can work with the Royal BC Museum to make sure these treasures can return to their homelands.

“We wouldn’t be able to be where we are without them being cooperative, ” Peters said. “This is the first true step toward reconciliation.”