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Nooksacks help return stone man to B.C. Tribe

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  • Don Bain
    ... Subject: Nooksacks help return stone man to B.C. Tribe Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2006 11:01:09 -0700 (PDT) From: Eric To:
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 6 11:07 AM
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      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: Nooksacks help return stone man to B.C. Tribe
      Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2006 11:01:09 -0700 (PDT)
      From: Eric <coastresearcher@...>
      To: don@...

      Nooksacks help return stone man to B.C. tribe


      Burke Museum, University of Washington Nooksack tribal member George
      Swanaset Jr., rear, Albert McHalsie, right, of Sto:lo Nation and Burke
      Museum archaeologists prepare a stone Sto:lo ceremonial image for return
      to the Chilliwack Tribe.



      To museum visitors, the 4-foot granite sculpture is an artifact to be
      admired alongside other relics of forgotten times.
      To the Canadian Indian tribe that knows the legend behind T�xwelatse
      (pronounced Tix-wil-aht-sah), a museum is no place for their first male

      The sculpture of the medicine man will be returned later this month to
      the Chilliwack Tribe, part of the Sto:lo Nation of Canada, after
      spending more than a century at the University of Washington�s Burke Museum.

      �To my extended family and tribe, it has a lot of cultural meaning,�
      said Herb Joe, a former Chilliwack chief and current bearer of the
      T�xwelatse name.

      The Nooksack Indian Tribe helped in the repatriation process, filing a
      request on the Chilliwacks� behalf through the Native American Graves
      Protection and Repatriation Act, a U.S. law adopted in 1990 that helps
      tribes reacquire culturally significant artifacts.

      According to Chilliwack history, T�xwelatse was turned to stone in the
      Chilliwack River Valley, about 20 miles northeast of present-day Sumas,
      after a conflict with X�als, a supernatural being sent by God �to make
      things right.� The responsibility to care for T�xwelatse�s stone remains
      was passed down through the generations, and T�xwelatse�s story is used
      to teach conflict resolution.

      A female caretaker of the sculpture married a member of the Sumas Tribe,
      bringing T�xwelatse with her, Joe said. After the infamous 1884 lynching
      of a 14-year-old Sto:lo Indian boy by a mob of Nooksack-area settlers,
      the tribe temporarily abandoned a camp near Sumas Lake. The lake
      straddled the U.S.-Canada border before it was drained and turned into
      farm land in 1924.

      Though documentation on the sculpture�s whereabouts at the turn of the
      century is scarce, assistant archaeology collections manager Megon Noble
      said Burke records indicate a group of �amateur naturalists� recovered
      the sculpture from a farmer�s field in the Sumas area in 1892 and put it
      on display in a dime store museum.

      The sculpture was donated to the Burke Museum in 1904, where it was
      studied and put on display. On Monday, it will be handed over to the
      Nooksacks as it makes its way back to the Chilliwacks.

      �This is a happy ending to a great story,� said MaryAnn Baron, director
      of external communications at Burke. �(The sculpture) seems more in
      context in its home.�

      The sculpture will end up coming full circle, being featured as the
      centerpiece of the tribe�s new healing center in the Chilliwack River
      Valley, where T�xwelatse�s legend began.

      �I�ve personally been working on getting (T�xwelatse) home for about
      15 years,� Joe said. �It hasn�t really sunk in yet.�

      Reach Caleb Heeringa at 715-2260 or caleb.heeringa@...
      <mailto:caleb.heeringa@...>. The Associated Press
      contributed to this report.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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