The Cassidy Centre for Educational Justice is excited to share the British Columbia Historical Federation announcement that Sigidimnak Noxs Ts’aawit, Dr. Amy Parent (Associate Director of CCEJ), along with the Ni’isjoohl rematriation delegation team, will be honoured with a Certificate of Merit, recognizing their work to return their family’s memorial pole to her rightful home in the Nass Valley.
In 1860 House of Nis’isjoohl Matriarch Joanna Moody commissioned a memorial pole to be carved to honour her family member, Ts’awit, who was next in line to be chief. Ts’awit was a warrior who died protecting his family and nation. The House of Ni’isjoohl Memorial Pole stood proud for nearly 70 years in the Nass Valley, embodying the spirits of the Nisga’a ancestors.
In the summer of 1929, when most of the Nisga’a people were away from home participating in their annual hunting and fishing activities, the House of Ni’isjoohl’s Memorial Pole was stolen, cut down, sold, and transported to a European museum by Canadian colonial anthropologist, Marius Barbeau. Purchased by the Royal Scottish Museum (now the National Museums of Scotland), the pole was sent across the sea to Edinburgh, Scotland.
After almost 100 years, the ancestral granddaughter of Matriarch Joanna Moody, Sigidimnak (Matriarch) Noxs Ts’aawit, Dr. Amy Parent reignited efforts within her Nation to rematriate the pole from Scotland and bring her Nisga’a ancestors home to rest in the Village of Laxgalts’ap. The pole will be returned to its rightful home on September 29, 2023. You can read the story of the pole’s theft and the multiple efforts to rematriate it at the Smithsonian Magazine’s profile.
Congratulations to the House of Ni’isjoohl on this award.
The Nisg̱a’a rematriation delegation to Scotland in August 2022 was led by Chief Ni’isjoohl (Earl Stephens), Sigidimnak Nox Ts’aawit (Dr. Amy Parent) and Shawna Mackay from the House of Ni’isjoohl. It was supported by Hlgu Aama Gat (Donald Leeson, Chief Councillor, Laxgalt’sap Village Government), Apdii Laxha (Andrew Robinson, Nisg̱a’a Lisims Industry Relations Manager), Mmihlgum Maakskwhl Gakw (Pamela Brown), and Theresa Schober (Curator and Director of the Nisg̱a’a Museum).
(With copy from Selkirk, D. (2022, December 22). Inside the Nisga’a Nations fight to get a 36-foot totem pole back from Scotland. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/inside-the-nisgaa-nations-fight-for-the-return-of-a-36-foot-totem-pole-180981342/ and the Ni’isjoohl Memorial Pole Rematriation – An International Discussion Panel)