A totem pole taken from Alaska by Drew Barrymore’s grandfather nearly a century ago has been returned to members of a tribe in its native land.

John Barrymore, an acting legend himself, is said to have spotted the spiritual artefact in an unoccupied village while yachting near the Alaskan coast back in 1931. He instructed crew members to go ashore and retrieve it, who then sawed the 40-foot pole into three pieces and stowed it away on board.

Drew BarrymoreDrew Barrymore's grandfather, John Barrymore, took the artefact from Alaska in 1931

When he returned home to California, Barrymore put the pole back together and displayed it in the garden of his estate until his death in 1942. After that, it was purchased by fellow Hollywood star and horror legend Vincent Price, who erected it in his garden until he died in 1981. It was then donated to the Honolulu Museum of Art, where it has been ever since.

More: Drew Barrymore reveals struggle with post-partum depression

Professor Steve Langdon, of the University of Alaska Anchorage, noticed the pole in the background of a picture of Vincent Price during a recent trip to an Alaskan museum. “It was totally out of place,” he recalled. “Here's this recognizable Hollywood figure in a backyard estate with a totem pole ... that was surrounded by cactus.”

He learned through research that the pole was used for burial and preservation purposes, and that there were remains of a man contained inside it before Barrymore had it originally disassembled. Langdon doesn’t know what happened to those remains, but asked tribal members for permission to begin the process of repatriating the item back to Alaska in 2012.

On Thursday (October 22nd), seven members of the Tlingit tribe travelled to Hawaii to take repossession of the totem pole, thanking the island for taking good care of the artefact for nearly 85 years, singing ceremonial songs and distributing gifts, according to the Associated Press.

More: ‘Miss You Already’ bonded Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette for life