Sacred pipes stolen from Indigenous Elders after they were evacuated from their home near Highway 8 in British Columbia

Shortly after Jeanie York and her husband, Victor York evacuated their home near Highway 8 during the devastating November floods, they discovered that two sacred medicine pipes – among the few valuables they had could take away from their home – had been stolen.

“We’re evacuees. It’s just amazing. It’s just one more thing you have to deal with – a violation of your personal belongings,” York, an elder with the Cook’s Ferry Indian Band, said. to host Sarah Penton on the CBC show. Radio West.

Now York is asking the audience to help him collect the pipes, one of which is described as having a large stone bowl and wooden rod, and the other in red stone with a red bowl.

Medicinal pipes are sacred artefacts in Indigenous communities and are often used in ceremonies.

York says her husband, a former chief of the Lower Nicola Indian Band, kept the two bagpipes for many years. One was a community pipe given to him by a friend in Manitoba.

“He received this pipe to help heal the community,” she said.

The pipes were stored in a brown leather satchel, which York had placed in a trash bag that she used on a brief trip home to collect some of their belongings.

“My oldest son and I went there and we just had a little time to pick up things … and Victor asked for a few items, and he really appreciated that.”

According to Louise Moses, a friend of the couple, several bags – one of which contained the hoses – were stolen on December 2 from the Yorks rental vehicle, which was parked at the Kamloops hotel where they were staying.

A passenger-side window was smashed, but York said she didn’t realize the two artifacts were among the stolen items until later, when they arrived at Victor’s parents’ home in Merritt, Columbia. British, and unpacked their personal effects.

She said the pipes mean a lot to her husband, who also has cancer.

“He’s been in an emergency for a few days, but he’s taking it without hesitation,” she said. “He isn’t able to speak … but he tries to stay positive.”

Her too. “I’m hanging on, I’m trying to be strong,” she said.

In an emailed statement to CBC, Kamloops RCMP said they received the Yorks pipe report on December 6. They did not identify any suspects using CCTV.

The gendarmes are asking anyone with information about the pipes to contact them at 250-828-3000.

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