REGINA — Many in the Metis community are reacting with sorrow and skepticism to the sale on eBay of artifacts claimed to be from a Metis leader involved in the 1885 Battle of Batoche.
The seller writes on eBay that she believes the medicine bag, feather and stick is from a grave, and mentions the Battle of Batoche in her post.
Merelda Fiddler-Potter, the Dallas Smythe Chair at the University of Regina, says it's heartbreaking to think the items might have been taken from the grave of a Metis person.
She says her own great-great-grandfather was the last person killed in the battle in 1885, so to think that someone would steal something from a grave "is just very disappointing.”
The seller says she bought the items from an auction in Wiltshire, England.
But Geordy McCaffrey, the executive director of the Gabriel Dumont Institute, an organization that promotes Metis culture through research and educational programs, questions whether the artifact is even Metis.
“I don’t think many of (the soldiers) would have been marking gravesites with a medicine bag and a feather, so I have my doubts that it even is a Metis artifact,” McCaffrey told CTV in a phone interview.
“I believe the artifact in question likely comes from First Nations, rather than Metis.”
Some comments on the eBay post are urging the seller to return the artifacts to Batoche.
The artifacts went for sale on Oct. 21, with the starting bid at $10 and by Friday, the bid was at $525.