The furor over a company hanging their business sign from two totem poles is leading to harassment.
The common-law partner of the business owner, who doesn’t want to be identified because she’s concerned about her safety, says the totem poles had another sign hanging from them when they bought the property.
She says they didn’t realize it would cause such a controversy to replace the old sign with a new one, especially since there were no complaints about the previous sign.
She says if anything, they could be blamed for being ignorant of how culturally important totem poles are, but their actions weren’t out of malice or disrespect.
She says her partner, and owner of the business, works out of town and has been unable to respond to media requests.
But she does say their number has been flooded with angry calls, and comments on social media, some of which are threatening.
The RCMP has been informed about some of the threats, and are now patrolling the area.
The partner says they don’t know the history of the totem poles, other than they were already on the property when they purchased it.
Neighbours of the business owner say the totem poles were created by a non-First Nations person, and the previous sign was advertising for a local hotel.
But because the treeline had obscured the sign and the two poles, it wasn’t clearly visible until the current owners cleared the brush and trees.
The current property owner says she wished people had informed and educated them about the significance of what they were doing, rather than threatening them by phone and online.
She says they’ll take the sign down as soon as they can get the personnel and equipment together, but they’re not sure what to do with the old totem poles.
Since they don’t know whether they’re authentic or not, they don’t want to offend more people.