RCMP. (The Canadian Press)

RCMP investigate threat against Indigenous totem poles on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast

Police describe the nature of the threat as ‘sensitive’

A police investigation is underway as RCMP search for the person who threatened to damage two totem poles at a secondary school north of Vancouver.

A statement from Sunshine Coast RCMP says surveillance video from Pender Harbour Secondary shows a person unfurling a large banner containing a spray-painted message.

The banner was tied to the two totem poles and the school principal reported the vandalism and threatening message Tuesday morning.

Police describe the nature of the threat as “sensitive,” while the Shishalh Nation, based in nearby Sechelt, says the message warns “totems will start falling” if statues such as those of John A. Macdonald are removed.

The statement from the First Nation says the word “conquered” was also painted on a highway sign containing Shishalh language, and police are investigating.

Const. Jihan McDougall says there is no tolerance for such vandalism and the Shishalh Nation says it is saddened by the racist acts, but heartened by the outpouring of support from across British Columbia.

Coun. Selina August says the First Nation is thankful to the “countless British Columbians” ready to call out racism.

“While we woke up … to hurtful news of racist incidents, we are also met with the love, support, and generosity of British Columbians from all walks of life who wish to see true reconciliation become the reality across this country,” August said in the statement.

RCMP have released two grainy surveillance photos showing a person tying the banner to the school totem poles and urge anyone with information to contact them.

The Canadian Press

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