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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Nipissing First Nation chief gets stolen ceremonial headdress back

A First Nation chief from northern Ontario says he was relieved after he got back his ceremonial headdress that was stolen over the weekend.

Because of a mishap at his hotel in Mississauga Ont., Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod Shabogesic said he left most of his things in his Jeep while he stayed in a temporary room for one night.

McLeod Shabogesic has been in Mississauga for the Little Native Hockey League tournament, which Nipissing First Nation is hosting.

When he woke up Saturday morning, and went to get his things from his vehicle, McLeod Shabogesic said the Jeep was no longer in the hotel’s underground parking garage.

Now I can rest a little easier and really take in the spirit of the tournament​​​​​​.– Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod Shabogesic

For him, the most important item in the Jeep was a ceremonial headdress he brought for the tournament’s opening ceremonies.

“It’s basically a bonnet constructed out of birch bark and deer skin,” he said.

“There’s beading on there with flowers that signify the strength of our women. There are seven eagle feathers that represent the Seven Grandfather Teachings. All put together in our traditional style.”

Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod Shabogesic says his Jeep, which had a ceremonial headdress inside, was stolen on Saturday. He got the headdress back on Monday. (Nipissing First Nation)

On Monday, McLeod Shabogesic said he got a call from Peel Regional Police that they were able to find his Jeep thanks to his satellite radio.

“I didn’t know how much weight was on my shoulders until I actually opened the elevator door and saw the Peel Regional officers standing there with the carrying case for our headdress and the feather case,” he said.

McLeod Shabogesic said it was hard for him to focus on the tournament when the headdress and his vehicle were still missing.

“Now I can rest a little easier and really take in the spirit of the tournament,” he said.

Before police found the stolen vehicle, Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah said on Twitter that his officers recognized the importance of the headdress and the impact of its loss.

“Our investigators will pursue all avenues, and we are asking for the assistance of our community, to ensure its return,” he said.

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