The remains of an aboriginal child that have been on display at a private
museum in the Vancouver Island community of Ladysmith are being returned to the
nearby Chemainus First Nation.
The bones and the cedar burial box they’re in are believed to be those of a
six- to 10-year-old Coast Salish child who died between 100 and 150 years
The Black Nugget Museum has had the remains on display since 1980.
Eric McLay, the archaeologist for local First Nations, says they were
appalled when the museum display was reported to them last month.
However, they’re pleased the museum has agreed to return the remains without
a prolonged legal battle, McLay says.
“The museum owner is quite sensitive to the issue. It’s been in his family
for over a century. It was collected by his great great grandfather. He has a
family connection to that and he’s tried to respect, as best as he knows, this
“So, it’s probably a case of cultural misunderstanding and misguided
enthusiasm for First Nations’ culture.”
McLay says the remains will be collected this week, and sent to the Royal
B.C. Museum for research and documentation before being returned to the
Chemainus First Nation for burial.