Metlakatla artifacts up for bid atn Sotheby's

Interesting story from Canwest news about a huge collection of artifacts from Metlakatla, currently in the hands of a British collector, that is soon to be auctioned off. … 9d5632c178

Here’s the Sotheby’s press release, complete with pictures of the items from the Dundas collection and a bit of background on how they were acquired back in 1863.

Onbard the gunboat RMS Grappler a Scottish missionary named Robert Dundas went ashore at Metlakatla and came back with his collection and set forward a huge controversy for the 20th (and now 21st) century. … lection%22

The government through a number of museums including the Museum of Northern BC are preparing to put in a bid, but at an expected take of 3.5 million they aren’t too sure if they’ll be able to repatriate the entire collection or just bits and pieces of it.

Hard to believe this hasn’t turned into a slugfest, but I think the artefacts should be given back to the rightful people or groups, if these items were not paid for  then they should not be sold to the highest bidder. Just my two ½ cents, you know inflation.

ya i’m with you on that thug…hand it back over, history should not be bought and sold like stocks. 

You can add me to the list of people that agree.  Artifacts stolen in the past don’t just suddenly become legitimate property, it still belongs to the group it was taken from.

It doesnt sound like the collection was stolen. Seems to say above that some fellow living in Metlakatla at the time had already put together the collection. How he put it together, who knows. But as he was living there, maybe he traded for some of it, maybe some of it was a gift or some of it was just plain given to the guy. And whether for a fee, payment or just cause he wanted to, gave it all to this Dundas fellow.

History is bought and sold like stocks all the time. How is buying and selling a mask any different than selling or buying a 200 yr old oil painting? Or some ancient Egyptian art work? Or some Aztec artifact?

Linkage:, … 73,00.html

I dont think you can buy legit Egyption art work or Aztec artifacts these are in some cases thousands of years old. its against the laws of those goverments just like Hawaii were you cant take anything from hawaii of the island, Lava Rocks , rocks or pebbles. same goes with alot of pebbles or rocks from romain sites. THis is called atifact Trafficking and you can be sent to jail or fined from those countries.

Here’s the most important part:

Weren’t a lot of things bartered back then as well though?  I’m sure it’s not that farfetched to have given up any of those artifacts for guns, gunpowder, or anything similar that the missionaries and explorers brought with them.

I believe similar artifacts were also shared as a measure of goodwill upon welcoming the visitors into the village.  But, since no one living today was there to know how the actual artifacts were aquired, anyone’s guess is as good as mine.  If they were stolen, then sure, give them back.  But if they were given away, then the artifacts rightfully belong to Simon Carey, and although we may see it as shady, he can and will make a profit on them.

Uh, the Chief was told that he had to give up these possessions in order to be a Christian, so he was swindled. Pretty much the same as stealing.

Hey man, want to become a Christian?

Let me guess, Father: it’s by injection?  :laughing:

I have to disagree.  Nobody forced him to be a Christian.  He could simply have refused to convert and kept these artifacts.

It could also be that not only did he choose to convert, but he was so adamant about his conversion that he really wanted to give these things up to prove his devotion.

Besides, do you really think that anyone back then would have had the slightest clue how much these artifacts would be worth?  Odds are they were of little value to anyone in Canada back then.  And there’s little chance he would have been able to go to Europe to sell them himself.

OMG StarDog first nation’s people had no choice in the matter about conversion to Christianity, that’s a fact. First Nations people had the church tell them what to do and that they were heathens living in sin, and that god (white Mans God) died for there sins. Why do you think the kids were sent to fricken Residential schools so it could be beaten out of them? (The Old ways, their language and their spirituality)  The parents had no choice the church ran everything back then….
and yes of course the chief could have given those items away, why cause the church probable told the chief it was a form of devil worship. Better to give away your past so you can sit beside Jesus in the kingdom of heaven.  The church in the name of god robbed many sites in the last 500 years look to México, look how many gold artefacts were taken and melted down and shipped back to Europe. Then museums went in and took what was left in the last 150 years. It’s only now that those artefacts are going back to the rightful groups such as the Haida, the Haisla and the Nisgaa.

What we have here is people sugar coating what happened, these artefacts were taken, and swindled sounds just about right. Give away those blasphemy  devil worshiper artefacts or go to hell. All in the name of the church……

Stardog, is that really you??

I have always thought that you were one of the more educated and reasonable of the people on here, but your ignorance on Aboriginal peoples’ “conversion” to Christianity is stunning. I don’t need to elaborate as AstroThug has pretty much said it all.

Another thing that proves the chief was swindled was, if you read the excerpts of the account (it was in yesterday’s Daily Snooze), Dundas talks about how wonderful it was that the Chief “gave up” his possessions because they were related to native spirituality (re: heathen), yet instead of destroying them, the Dundas bastard kept them, meaning he likely knew they would be worth something.

The truth of the matter is that the Tsimshian were held hostage in a way, and forced to become Christian because they were in fear for their lives. At the time when most of the Tsimshian converted to Christianity the Small Pox epidemic was running rampant everywhere.  The honorable Father Duncan refused to administer the vaccine to any Tsimshian, or any First Nation’s person, who was not a converted Christian. As part of the deal the “Savages” had to give up much of their belongings as they were viewed as heathen or praying to another god or some crap like that.  Praise the Lord.???!!!

I don’t think there is any doubt that the “conversion” was forced in some way or another.  If the artifacts dealt with spirituality, it was in the best interest of the pastor to make it look like the chief happily gave him the stuff to serve a new god.  If the chief did it then everyone else would have to convert too. 
The only right thing to do is to send it back to where it came from.  It’s not going to happen but that’s what would be just.

How about the city of Prince Rupert use the $2 Million dollars in the Northern Economic Development Fund that is earmarked for this area to purchase the collection (or go into the pot for the purchase) on the proviso that the collection be housed at the Museum of Northern BC …

I’ll bet that would bring more people to the area than some idiotic fishing derby.  Perhaps that be a draw for more cruise ships …

Hell ya Chief Dave…Thumbs up to ya

“some crap like that.  Praise the Lord.Huh!!!”