Artifact for sale on eBay questioned by Saskatchewan Metis community
An artifact, claimed to be from a Metis leader, for sale on eBay has resulted in backlash from some people from the Metis community.
The seller, who brings up the 1885 Battle of Batoche in the artifact’s description, writes she believes the medicine bag, feather and stick is from a grave.
“When it says it was taken off the grave of a Metis person, I think that's incredibly heartbreaking,” Merelda Fiddler-Potter, the Dallas Smythe Chair at the University of Regina, said.
“My great-great-grandfather was the last person killed in the battle in 1885, so to think that someone would steal something or remove something from their grave is just very disappointing.”
The seller says she bought the items from an auction in Wiltshire, England.
“I am guessing that this man was killed in the battle and buried with these items to help his journey in death,” the eBay seller wrote.
But Geordy McCaffrey, the executive director of the Gabriel Dumont Institute, an organization that promotes Metis culture through research and educational programs, questions whether the artifact is even Metis.
“I don’t think many of [the soldiers] would have been marking gravesites with a medicine bag and a feather, so I have my doubts that it even is a Metis artifact,” McCaffrey told CTV in a phone interview.
“I believe the artifact in question likely comes from First Nations, rather than Metis.”
Some comments on the eBay post urge the seller to return the artifact to Batoche.
“I’m assuming that you are not aware, but this is stolen property. You need to return this item to the Metis nation from where it was stolen,” one of the comments read.
“Stop trying to profit from genocide,” another comment on the sale stated.
The artifacts went for sale on Oct. 21, with the starting bid at C$10.
On Friday, the bid for the medicine bag, feather and stick was at C$525.