Tl’etinqox (Anaham) chief Joe Alphonse says he is withdrawing Tsilhqot’in claims to the petroglyph rock recently repatriated to the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem (Canoe Creek) people.
Last week Alphonse met with Stswecem’c Xgat’tem chief David Archie and had a good discussion about the issue and said he’s changed his tune.
On June 13, the day the rock was being repatriated from the Museum of Vancouver and being placed near the kiosk in the Churn Creek Protected Area, Alphonse contacted the Tribune claiming the markings on the petroglyph were Tsilhqot’in.
While he celebrated the rock’s return, he said he would be contesting its origin.
Now that he’s learned the rock was originally taken from Crowsbar on the other side of the Fraser River from Churn Creek Protected Area when it was moved to Vancouver in 1926, Alphonse admits he made a mistake.
“I think what led to a lot of confusion was the rock was being relocated to Churn Creek. It actually did not come from that area.
“It came from Crowsbar, an area that we as Tsilhqot’in people don’t have an interest in,” Alphonse says.
In May, Phyllis Webstad, repatriation organizer, told the Cariboo Regional District during a presentation the reason for placing the petroglyph rock at Churn Creek was because the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem were not sure if there was a way to place it into its original location.
It measures three by five feet and weighs between six to eight tonnes.
When it was removed in 1926, it took 10 horses a month to drag it up 3,000 feet from the sandbar to be put on a railcar near Clinton.
However, Alphonse says if at any time in the future the rock is placed at its original location at Crowsbar, the Tsilhqot’in would like to be invited and participate in a celebration.
“As I said all along, the most important thing is that an artifact’s been returned home. That’s a reason to celebrate for all First Nations.”