BRITISH COLUMBIA

Stolen traditional First Nations bird mask returned to B.C. owner

09/26/2014 01:50 EDT | Updated 11/26/2014 05:59 EST
ALERT BAY, B.C. - A ceremonial First Nations mask that was stolen from a shed in Alert Bay, B.C., has been returned.

RCMP Const. Andrew Curtis says a private collector surrendered the art piece to police on Wednesday, nearly a week after it was reported stolen.

The mask was returned to its rightful owner who lives in the small island community between Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland.

Curtis says the collector won't be charged, but another man has been arrested and faces charges of breaking and entering, theft, and public mischief.

The mask depicts the supernatural bird Huxhukw (HOO-hoowk), and is one of three bird masks used by the Kwakwaka'wakw (KWAK-wak-ya-wak) peoples during winter ceremonies.

The mask has a five-foot-long beak, and is painted in bright colours.