Ancestors welcomed back to Arnhem Land


Share post:

Ancestral remains held in a museum in the United States for more than 60 years have been returned to traditional owners in the Northern Territory. 

Celebrating a big day for the ancestors at Gunbalanya in the Northern Territory [Credit: ABC]

Greeted by traditional dancers in the West Arnhem Land community of Gunbalanya, the remains of ancestors that were removed in 1948 have been reburied. 

They were taken by American researchers as part of a Northern Australian expedition and had been held at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. 

World Archaeological Congress president Claire Smith says the repatriation is an important step forward. 

“It means that precedent is set,” she said. 

“It is the thin edge of the wedge, in a way.” 

She says it should inspire other Aboriginal communities to reclaim remains that have been taken from them as part of national and international research projects. 

An elder from Gunbalanya, Jacob Nayinggul, says the repatriation means the spirits of the ancestors are back where they belong. 

“It was really important to send them back,” he said. 

Other remains taken in 1912 and the 1960s that have been held in Australian museums were also been returned as part of the ceremony. 

Author: Anna Henderson | Source: ABC News Website [July 20, 2011]



Related articles

Climate change could happen much faster than previously thought

Humans are in danger of making large parts of the Earth uninhabitable for thousands of years because of...

Fossil study helps pinpoint extinction risks for ocean animals

What makes some ocean animals more prone to extinction than others? A new study of marine fossils provides...

Large bronze Pan mask uncovered at Hippos-Sussita

A large bronze mask of the god Pan, the only of its kind, was uncovered at the University...

NASA’s NuSTAR helps solve riddle of black hole spin

Two X-ray space observatories, NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton, have teamed...

Night fire destroys ancient Tibetan town in China

A fire that raged for nearly 10 hours Saturday razed an ancient Tibetan town in southwest China that's...

Buildings in ancient Roman capital of Dacia to be restored

Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, the former capital of Roman Dacia and one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in...

Twisted structure preserved dinosaur proteins: study

Scientists have discovered how fragments of the protein collagen might have survived in fossilised dinosaur bones.  The intertwining, rope-like...

Ancient Greek theatres seen from the sky

Not all archaeology takes place on the ground. Sometimes, it happens in the sky. Classical archaeologist Hans Rupprecht...