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Traditional mask used as Super Bowl wager to be used in Bella Coola for a potlatch

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Compiled by Debora Steel







Nuxalk Chief Wally Webber is happy that a traditional mask that was used as a Super Bowl wager by the Seattle Art Museum will be used in Bella Coola for a potlatch in September. It’s only a temporary visit back to the community, however. The ceremonial mask was used for the wager in January, because it was reminiscent of the Seattle Seahawk’s logo, said the museum. Depending on the outcome of the game, the SAM would trade the piece to a Denver museum for limited display. The concept of using the mask in this way offended the Nuxalk and the wager was rescinded. “It was an insult to us, putting that mask up for a bet, a wager. But now they know that they shouldn’t be doing stuff like that,” Chief Webber told The Globe and Mail. “I’m pretty sure that these museums have a manual on how to deal with stuff like this, but someone didn’t pay attention to it.” The potlatch is expected to attract more than 1,000 visitors on Sept. 27.