Totem stolen from son’s grave site

Tsartlip man mourns missing totem, taken from his dead son's burial site

Frazer Smith Sr. explains how a thief lifted the totem pole marking his son's grave was lifted and stolen from a cemetery on West Saanich Road.

Frazer Smith Sr. explains how a thief lifted the totem pole marking his son's grave was lifted and stolen from a cemetery on West Saanich Road.

The totem that marks the gravesite of Frazer Smith Sr.’s late son is missing.

“It meant a lot to the family and it’s something that at least when we go by the cemetery we could see the totem pole and say hi, remember the good memories we had with our late brother, nephew, son,” he said.

Sometime overnight on Feb. 21, the totem carved by Frazer Joe Smith Jr.’s cousin disappeared from the little cemetery on the Tsartlip First Nation. At nearly six feet tall, it is topped by an eagle, with a kneeling man underneath, playing a stick game. It is stained a dark mahogany.

“[My nephew] came out one day and he started carving it,” Smith Sr. said. “The plan was to sell it, but my late son passed away so he finished it and gave it to my daughter.”

Though Smith Jr., an athlete, died 10 years ago at age 30, his family and friends held a ceremony at the cemetery three months ago and replaced his grave marker with the carving.

“We had a little ceremony down there, with some offerings to our ancestors and previous friends and relatives who aren’t with us,” Smith Sr. said. “It became a priceless thing because it represented someone who everyone was really close to.”

Sidney North Saanich RCMP are investigating the theft, which they call “disturbing.”

“The marker is quite large and heavy, and required three to four men to put in place,” said Cpl. Chris Swain. “The monetary value of the marker is over $5,000, but that is secondary to the sentimental and emotional value it holds to the family.

“The Sidney North Saanich RCMP continue to investigate this disturbing theft and are seeking assistance from the public in returning this important piece to the family.”

“To have something like this taken from us, you see it in other cemeteries downtown … you never think it will come here,” Smith said. “We thought those days were gone when people take things from our grave sites and burial sites. When it comes to family you don’t realize how much it hurts.”

Anyone with information on the carved totem is asked to call Const. Dan Steffes at 250-656-3931 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Just Posted

A single-vehicle incident has closed southbound traffic along the Pat Bay Highway from Sayward Road Monday morning. Emergency crews are on scene. (Black Press Media file photo)
TRAFFIC: Single-vehicle incident closes section of Pat Bay

Highway southbound from Sayward Road closed Monday morning

University of Victoria researchers received more than $9 million from the federal government for projects that aim to advance big ideas, discoveries and innovations. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
University of Victoria research boosted with more than $9 million in federal funding

The research funding will support a wide range of projects and study

LeoVegas's promotional art for their survey of Canada's funniest proviences (LeoJoker)
B.C. second-funniest province in Canada: online survey

Dry humour popular with B.C. residents – we’re also boisterous laughers

Coun. Bob Thompson wants authorities to delay the June 30 deadline for submissions to BC Housing’s request-for-proposal to run the supportive housing project at Prosser Road. (Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich calls for delay in supportive housing project deadline

Municipality wants more say in eventual choice of contractor to run supportive housing project

Shaelyn Sinnott of Oak Bay Volunteer Services delivers groceries for client Irene Kenny. The organization has kept up delivery of food and medication throughout all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Oak Bay Volunteer Services)
Oak Bay volunteers keep critical services running

Duo drove between Oak Bay and Jubilee three days a week, twice a day during pandemic

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Most Read