Eric is a Tsimshian from northern British Columbia who came to Chicago in the winter of 1996 to retrieve two native masks from the Field Museum of Natural History. The masks had originally been confiscated by an Anglican priest in 1879 in order to convert the Aboriginal people to Christianity by taking their religious symbols from them. The official story was that the masks had been sold as artifacts and legitimately purchased later to be exhibited to the public, but the Tsimshian people had a different perspective on it and believed they had been wronged. They demanded the masks be returned to them, and since nothing was being done, Eric took his teenage nephew David Kitikmeot with him to Chicago to steal the masks from the museum. David was caught, and Eric turned to his friend Benton Fraser for help, lying to him about his real intentions. It is hinted that Eric had once saved Fraser's life and had also initiated him to the sweat lodge ceremony at the age of ten. Eric and his whole family took up residence in Fraser's apartment during their stay and introduced Detective Raymond Vecchio and the building's tenants to their customs.
When it became obvious that the masks were fake and that the museum curator and a Canadian government representative had taken the real masks to sell them (the masks were worth over a million dollars), Eric managed to retrieve both sets, take the original masks and return to his people, leaving the fake set behind.
Constable Fraser let them leave without too much fuss, feeling the Tsimshians had possibly been wronged in this affair, as they had often been throughout History.