First Nations elder searches for priceless cultural items stolen from truck in Saskatoon
Case was stolen Tuesday night, elder hoping for items' safe return
Elder Peter Nippi doubts the thief who stole his ceremonial pipe even knew what they were stealing.
On Monday night, Nippi's wife parked his truck in front of their apartment on Avenue H. When he got back in the truck the next morning, a case containing the pipe was missing.
"To me, that stuff in there means the world to me," he said. "They help out people and they have a history."
Nippi handcarved the pipe stem himself while he was working with sexual abuse victims at the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.
Since then, he's used the pipe in countless ceremonies, and very rarely travels without it.
"I never bring my ceremonial pipes to the city," he said. "This is a pipe that I carry as the warrior society did when they went battling a long time ago. Today, we're battling drugs, lateral violence, domestic violence, family violence and racism."
Since the theft, Nippi's friends and family have scoured the neighbourhood, checking pawn shops and even dumpsters to get the items back. So far, they haven't found anything.
While he was angry in the beginning, he's since calmed down and forgives the person who took the case.
"It's about getting this stuff back," he said. "It's about helping people that are hurting."
Nippi said he's usually very careful with the items and covers them up with a blanket whenever they're in a vehicle. Unfortunately, his wife forgot to lock the truck when she went in for the night.
The theft came at a bad time. Important sundance ceremonies are taking place this week in his home community of Kinistin Saulteaux Nation, near Melfort, Sask.
However, Nippi said he won't let the theft slow him down.
"When a doctor makes house calls he carries a bag," he said. "That's what's gone. It's not the whole ceremony. For heaven's sake, the sun rises in the morning and it sets and night, whether you're alive or dead."
Nippi said the theft was recorded on surveillance video and has been turned over to police.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police.