A native totem pole was set on fire on Canada’s Vancouver Island in what is suspected to be retaliation for the destruction of a statue of Captain James Cook.
The Salish Bear Pole was seen smouldering at the summit of the Malahat Highway hours after a mob ripped down a statue of the British explorer in the provincial capital of Victoria, took off its head, and “drowned” it in the Inner Harbour.
The fire brigade were able to bring the fire under control, leaving the totem largely intact but its lower sections charred and blackened.
“The quick thinking of the passing motorist likely saved not only the totem pole, but also a forest fire,” said Sergeant Tim Desaulniers, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Detachment Commander for Shawnigan Lake.
“This was a very dangerous act that could have had far reaching consequences. We will be working with partners along the Malahat for video and dashcam footage in an effort to identify suspect(s),” he added.
“Fresh graffiti was also located at the scene, speaking to recent events in Victoria where a statue of James Cook was pulled down and thrown in the Victoria Harbour, based on what was written, we feel the two incidences are related,” the policeman said. The words ‘ONE TOTEM – ONE STATUE’ had been scrawled in front of the burning totem in black spray-paint.
This is Captain Cook in Victoria, British Columbia, torn down and thrown into the sea. See how this is not about Residential Schools. It's anything British. It's Canada itself. pic.twitter.com/QQF5vbxArq
— Save Our Statues – Robert Poll (@_SaveOurStatues) July 2, 2021
Captain Cook’s statue is not the only monument to have been targeted by woke mobs, with a large, enthroned statue of Queen Victoria being hauled from its pedestal in front of the Manitoba Legislature in broad daylight on Canada Day, or Dominion Day.
The statue was extensively vandalised and its head detached and thrown in a river, with a smaller statue of Canada’s reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II — who is head of state in Canada as in the United Kingdom and several other Commonwealth realms — also being torn down.
Perhaps the most dramatic aspect of the ongoing disorder is the wave of church arsons sweeping the country, with a remarkable number of historic Anglican and Roman Catholic churches having been burned to the ground.
The violence is linked to the discovery of unmarked graves — wrongly described as “mass graves” by several news outlets — at the sites of former Indian Residential Schools. These institutions were typically run by churches and native children were required to attend, in what is now generally regarded as a misguided attempt to integrate them into the cultural mainstream.
As the schools, date from the 1800s, at least some of the graves now causing contention used to be marked, with the BBC reporting that “Burial plots used to be marked with wooden crosses that crumbled over the years” at one site.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the church attacks “unacceptable” but added that he “understand[s] the anger that’s out there against the federal government, against institutions like the Catholic church; it is real and it is fully understandable given the shameful history that we are all becoming more and more aware of”.
He also insisted that the “terrible intergenerational trauma and present-day realities of suffering” is something “that we are all collectively responsible for”.
— Noah Ross (@noahrossj) July 2, 2021