Thursday, 22 Feb 2024

Remains of 18 Indigenous people held by UK museums return to Australia

Remains of 18 Indigenous people held by UK museums return to Australia


Remains of 18 Indigenous people held by UK museums return to Australia

The remains of 18 Indigenous people have been returned to Australia by two British museums, part of the laborious and painstaking effort to recover thousands of ancestors stolen from their traditional lands which now lie in more than 20 countries around the world.

Their descendants want them back.

More than 1,660 ancestors have been returned to Australia since 1990. More than 1,280 of those have been from the UK, where the government has been working with private holders and collecting institutions for more than 30 years.

So far, other returns have come from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in the US, and from institutions in Europe, including in Germany and Sweden.

Uncle Moogy Sumner is a Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna elder from South Australia, who has been trying for years to bring ancestral remains home along with Bob Weatherall, a Kamilaroi man from southern Queensland. They have travelled around the world searching museums and scientific institutions, and negotiating with officials.

Sumner and Weatherall think there could be many more to be recovered than the official government figure suggests.

In SA, ancestral remains that were kept in museums are being buried in stages at a specially developed memorial park. There are other repatriation plans afoot around the country.

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