‘Significant’ piece of First Nations art stolen in Nanaimo: RCMP

The piece, titled 'Spindle Whorl,' consists of an intricately carved cedar disc nearly one metre in diameter. Nanaimo RCMP

There’s an old expression: “If it’s not bolted down, someone will steal it.”

But for one beloved piece of Nanaimo First Nations art, even the bolts weren’t enough.

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Nanaimo RCMP is now asking for the public’s help to locate a “significant” piece of public art that was stolen over the weekend.

The piece, titled Spindle Whorl, consists of an intricately carved cedar disc nearly one metre in diameter. It was created by carver Joel Good and was last seen on March 21.

Spindle Whorl‘s mount after it was stolen over the weekend. Nanaimo RCMP

Police say the piece has been installed near the intersection of Albert Street and Victoria Crescent since 2015, where it had been affixed to a base with four screws.

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“The Spindle Whorl represents Coast Salish art and has been a fixture in downtown Nanaimo for many years,” said Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien in a media release.

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“Historically, the spindle whorl has become an iconic symbol for the Snuneymuxw people, with carvings that often depict family stories and legends.”

Anyone with information on the theft is asked to contact Nanaimo RCMP or Crime Stoppers, if they wish to remain anonymous.

READ MORE: Precious ceremonial objects slowly being returned to First Nations from museums

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