House post returning to First Nation after 138 years, and decades in Harvard storage

Indigenous artifact returned

A First Nations house post is being returned to its home in British Columbia after 138 years, including spending the last two decades in storage at Harvard University in Massachusetts.

A statement from the Gitxaala Nation on B.C.'s north coast says the house post was acknowledged as the nation's grizzly bear pole that has been in the care of the Peabody Museum at Harvard.

The nation says a transfer agreement has been signed, with the post expected to arrive in Prince Rupert by March, and a community celebration will be held the next month.

The house post was bought by a fishing company in 1885 and has been part of the museum's anthropological artifacts since 1917.

The nation says the post will be exhibited at the Museum of Northern B.C. until a museum in the village of Lax Klan is constructed.

House posts are a type of totem pole used to support the beams of a longhouse or could also be situated at the front of a house.

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