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Police looking for vandal who threatened totem poles ‘will begin falling’ on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast

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Mounties on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast north of Vancouver are on the lookout for the individual accountable for threatening to tear down two totem poles, apparently in retaliation for any toppling of statues of historic figures.

The risk was spray painted on a banner that was found Tuesday morning, strung between the 2 poles on the entrance to Pender Harbour Secondary College.

Patrick Bocking, superintendent of faculties for the Sunshine Coast faculty district, stated employees instantly tore down the banner and referred to as the RCMP.

“That is considerably heartbreaking to see such a factor from anybody,” Bocking stated. “It was completely a disappointment.”

The poles are the work of shíshálh grasp carver Arnold Jones, created with the assistance of scholars on the faculty.

The shíshálh Nation issued a written assertion Wednesday condemning the vandalism, in addition to a separate incident reported Tuesday the place the phrase “conquered” was painted on a freeway signal containing shíshálh language.

“Our Nation members are saddened and upset by these most up-to-date acts of racism,” hiwus (Chief) Warren Paull stated.

“After all, we’re not shocked. Racism exists right here on the Sunshine Coast, because it does elsewhere. And as at all times, racism can be confronted for what it’s — as an expression of ignorance and hate that have to be fully rejected in all types.” 

Pictures taken from surveillance cameras outdoors Pender Harbour Secondary College present the suspect in an incident threatening the college’s totem poles. (Sunshine Coast RCMP)

Sunshine Coast RCMP are circulating surveillance images of a suspect within the incident within the hope that somebody can determine the individual accountable.

“Given the delicate nature of this risk, police are working diligently to find a suspect and are asking for the general public’s help in figuring out the individual within the surveillance video,” Const. Jihan McDougall stated in a information launch.

“There isn’t any tolerance for this sort of behaviour and we are going to work very exhausting to seek out the individual accountable.”

‘It is simply not fastidiously thought by means of’

The banner was made with a big piece of material tied to the poles with rope in any respect 4 corners.

A picture supplied by the shíshálh Nation reveals a sq. of fabric painted with the grammatically incorrect message, “If u contact George/Stanley/or John A., ur totem’s will begin falling.”

A picture supplied by the shíshálh Nation reveals the threatening banner that was hung outdoors Pender Harbour Secondary College. (shíshálh Nation)

Bocking stated it seems the risk could also be a response to ongoing debates within the U.S. over the toppling of statues of Accomplice generals and different historic figures who owned slaves or dedicated racist violence.

Nearer to house, there have been heated discussions about statues of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, due to his anti-Indigenous insurance policies, together with the institution of the residential faculty system. A statue of Macdonald was removed from the front steps of Victoria Metropolis Corridor two years in the past.

However there have been no such debates in Pendour Harbour, in keeping with Bocking.

“We attempt to make sense of the messaging, and it is actually not attainable,” he stated.

Bocking stated it is attainable that “George” refers to a statue an hours’ drive away in Gibsons that commemorates city founder George Gibson, although he is unaware of any motion to tear down that monument.

“Stanley” might discuss with Lord Frederick Stanley, whose statue greets guests to Stanley Park in Vancouver, however it’s not clear that anybody is looking for that piece to be eliminated, both.

“It is simply not fastidiously thought by means of, and naturally it appears to be coming from a extremely unlucky angle about how issues are labored by means of in a neighborhood,” Bocking stated.

shíshálh Nation thanks neighborhood for help

Regardless of the 2 separate incidents on Tuesday, representatives of the shíshálh say their spirits have been buoyed by help from individuals throughout B.C.

“That is essentially the most heartening factor,” Coun. Selina August stated within the written assertion.

“Whereas we awakened right now to hurtful information of racist incidents, we’re additionally met with the love, help, and generosity of British Columbians from all walks of life who want to see true reconciliation turn into the truth throughout this nation.”

Anybody who has details about the threats to the totem poles is requested to name RCMP at 604-885-2266.

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