Until recently, the image of two First Nations women bound and gagged, as told in one version of the phantom ship legend, was on a Bathurst storefront as part of the city’s hospitality days.

Felicia Mae Grant, a member of the nearby Pabineau First Nation, says she was horrified when she saw it.

“I am absolutely shocked,” she says. “I was actually really surprised that that sort of imagery would be up there.”

She says the image is insensitive, given the history of the First Nation community in relation to the unsolved cases of hundreds of missing and murdered indigenous women.

Rita May Gates is the president of the Bathurst Art Society, the group that commissioned the paintings adorning storefront on Main Street, including the one in question.

She says the painting was an attempt at visualizing part of the phantom ship legend, although there are several versions of the story.

“We are all really sorry that some people have been hurt,” she says. “I was hurt because some people were hurt. I take things personal. I am the president and I take full responsibility.”

City councillor Anne-Marie Gammon says better communication is key, but she also thinks there is an element of misunderstanding.

“Probably they tried and they didn’t succeed, but there are members of the Pabineau First Nation that are members of the Bathurst Art Society,” she says.

“I don’t think they did it on purpose, I want to say that,” says Mae Grant. “I really don’t think it was an intentional attack or anything like that. I think it was just not thought out.”

The painting has since been removed, but it seems all parties believe increased communication and understanding will ensure it doesn’t happen again.

With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell.