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British Columbia $7-million indigenous art collection given anonymously to B.C. museum

People look at indigenous art at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, B.C., on Nov. 10, 2016.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

An extensive collection of indigenous art valued at about $7 million is being given to the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia by an anonymous donor.

At more than 200 pieces, the museum says it's believed to be the largest collection of northwest coast First Nations art to return to B.C. in decades.

The museum says in a news release that the donor was first inspired to start collecting after seeing totem poles in Vancouver's Stanley Park in the 1970s.

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The donation includes rare historical works, carvings, jewelry, basketry and textiles by West Coast artists like Bill Reid, Charles Edenshaw and Isabel Rorick.

The art will be housed in a new Gallery of Northwest Coast masterworks, funded with a $3-million donation from Montreal charity the Doggone Foundation and a $500,000 grant from the federal government.

The Museum of Anthropology's director, Anthony Shelton, says the artwork has been on a remarkable journey after originally being created in the northwest coast and is now back home in B.C. where it can be shared.

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