PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. — It took eight years, but the eagle has finally landed back on home soil in Haida Gwaii.
A 1.5-metre Haida eagle carving that disappeared from the Haida nation in British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Islands in May 2001 was officially returned to its original home in Skidegate this week.
Haida carver Dick Bellis completed the eagle carving in 1993, dedicating it to his brother who passed away a year earlier, and it sat on display at Jungle Beach on Graham Island for the next eight years.
In 2001, someone noticed the eagle was missing.
It was believed to be lost, until Bellis’s wife received an anonymous phone call last week.
“(The caller) asked, ’Are you the one who wrote ”in memory of Ted Bellis“ on the back of an eagle statue,’ and she said, ’Yes, that’s us,”’ said Bellis.
The anonymous caller then said the statue was sitting in a backyard hundreds of kilometres away in Prince George.
Bellis called the RCMP, and Mounties in Prince George found the statue and seized it.
It was in Bellis’s yard a week later.
As for how the eagle ended up in Prince George, the RCMP are investigating.