Stone figure identified by museum as indigenous artifact was actually carved recently by local artist

Last summer, a fellow walking on a western Canada beach discovered an unusual carved statue of a figure. He contacted the Royal British Columbia Museum who later announced that the statue was an archaeologically significant artifact of the indigenous Lekwugen people. Here is a link to the museum's press release, since removed but cached by Google. Shortly after, a local artist called the local newspaper to report that the carving was actually his handiwork from a few years ago. From The Guardian:

"It's absolutely 110% my carving," Ray Boudreau, told the Times Colonist, sharing photos of a strikingly similar sculpture that he had worked on in 2017[…]

But Lou-ann Neel, head of the museum's Indigenous curation and repatriation department, has defended the assessment the sculpture – and feels the public has been too quick to pass judgment.

Other works by Boudreau dot the shoreline south of Victoria, but the area was once a large Lekwungen settlement. "Elders have talked about old carved stones prevalent in the area, but interestingly, not on this particular beach," she said. An Indigenous artist herself, Neel points out that the shape – wide on one end and tapering at the other – appears in other Indigenous stone figures found in the area.

It was that history that prompted the museum archaeologist Grant Keddie to speculate the pillar could be the same one mentioned by Indigenous elders to an anthropologist in the late 1880s.

"We don't know if the stone is in its original shape. We don't know if Mr Boudreau started working on a stone that already had a carving on it," she told the Observer. "I think there's a lot of questions and things I'd like to talk to him about."

image: Bernhard Spalteholz via Royal BC Museum announcement