For more than a century, a unique and vast Aboriginal sanctuary on Vancouver Island has been hidden in the basement of the New York museum, and its former tribal owners rarely visit and never fully show it.
But a speech later this month at Yuquot whalers's shine has once again raised questions about whether and how the artifact was repatriated to Nuuchah-
The Knights of Vancouver Island friendly Bay.
Shrine consisting of original cottage-
Like buildings with 88 carved characters, the Muchalaht tribe has built 4 carved whales and 16 human skulls for generations as a purification site for the community's chief whale catcher.
It is also known as the bathroom of the Yuquot whale catcher, and it is still very influential by Muchalaht even if the Nuu-chah-
Whaling days have long passed.
In 1903, as the Museum of the first national art collection in the northwest Pacific, at its remote location, it was considered the agent of Franz Boas, the father of modern cultural anthropology, convince two Yugu elders to sell the Yasukuni shrine to the American Museum of Natural History for $500.
The two "owners", knowing that the sale would be controversial, insisted that the building would be about 5 m by 6 m long before the village set out for the whaling season and would not be removed
Then it and its contents were stolen secretly.
Boas wanted to reproduce the building and its contents in the museum display, but shortly after the shrine arrived in New York, he had a dispute with the museum.
The artifacts were never completely put back in place and only a few were shown.
But, as other Aborigines often do now, their artifacts are collected for museums in Europe and the United States, and the descendants of the original owners want to return to the Yasukuni Shrine.
On 1996, the Muchalaht community voted to return the Yasukuni Shrine.
The museum agreed initially.
The community has set up an association to raise funds for the $20 million interpretation center, which will be located at the Yuquot National Historic Site in friendly Bay.
However, there is still a long way to go to meet the minimum requirements for the repatriation of the museum.
Majetta James, president of the Maquinna Cultural Association, said part of the problem is that the site is fairly remote and costs a lot of construction.
But Muchalaht has never forgotten the shrine and its strong connection to Yuquot, which has now incorporated its history into the cultural heritage courses offered by the North Island College.
This year, James, a lecturer in the course, hopes to take six students and some elders to New York to watch the Yasukuni Shrine.
This will be the first time the community has visited it since 1990.
"You have to know that this is part of the community spirit.
We will get it back.
Believe me, we will get it back in my lifetime . "
Muchalaht was supported by Tom Beasley, director of the Lower Mainland of the B. Underwater Archaeology SocietyC.
It will deliver a speech at 2013 Shipwreck Conference on April 27.
The speech will be delivered by the former Royal Museum of England. C.
Human scholar Richard Inglis has been working with Muchalaht for many years to try to find a way to repatriate the Yasukuni Shrine.
"From my point of view, I hope this does raise the issue of repatriation, and I am willing to do what I can to help the people of Muchalaht to do so," Beasley said . ", Who is also deputy
President of Vancouver Maritime Museum Association
"This is part of the history of BC, and it is also an important part of the history of the people of Mucha rahite, which should be in B. C.
Not buried in the basement of the New York City museum.
But Inglis believes that repatriation is not an easy task.
"The bottom line is that the community wants it back, but that creates a lot of problems," Inglis said . ".
"The problem with the community is how to deal with it if it comes back.
The museum is a very expensive place to build and maintain.
Inglis said that there is a disagreement about whether the Yasukuni shrine should be returned and if it is returned, whether the community itself should be open for public viewing, or return to its original state as a sacred place that is only open to its owner.
"There are many different opinions.
It is said that our history is over and we are moving forward.
Others say (the shrine)
"It's very powerful and should come back because it's causing a loss to the power of their community, and if it's brought back, power will come back," said Inglis . ".
"Others say that from a ceremonial point of view everything related to the Yasukuni shrine has been forgotten and that if it is not treated effectively, it can be dangerous for the community.
But James says there's still a strong one.
The Yasukuni shrine is believed to be a force that can rekindle the community.
"We have always been a powerful person and we will get power again as the shrine returns," she said . ".
The former site of the shrine is now part of the friendly Bay National Historic Site, which became the focus of early European contact and diplomatic relations with First Nations.
Inglis is one of several spokesmen at the 2013 shipwreck meeting of the archaeological society to discuss the history of the Pacific Northwest ocean.
Other talks included the wreckage of the early exploration vessel Tonquin, an update on Oregon's "beeswax wreckage", an aboriginal fishing weir, and a Spanish olive can found near Haida Gawa.