Ancestors can return home

Britain's Natural History Museum is to return the largest number of indigenous ancestral remains to date.
Torres Strait Island leaders, with the aid of theAustralian Government, have been campaigning to bring home the remains of their ancestors, which are held in may different museums, so the spirits of their ancestors can rest.
The remains of 138 Indigenous people will be returned and buried in many different ceremonies in the Islands which are situated between the northern coast of Australia and Papua New Guinea.
"After Torres Strait Island elders asked for the remains museum scientists were able to identify the origins of 141 skeletal and soft tissue remains, ranging from a single tooth to a rare mummy. They linked 119 individuals to the Torres Strait islands, including 19 to specific islands." ScienceInsider
Ned David, a community leader from the islands, said it was "a key step in the healing process for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from injustices committed against our people in the past..."

The remains had been taken from the islands by early explorers, sailors and missionaries in the 19th century and many of them where sold to the National History Museum, by one dealer, in 1884.

Ned David said he is "deeply touched" by the decision to return the remains, that it is a solemn occassion and that many islanders are very emotional about the return. He also said that no blame will be given and that he hopes for the continuation of a good relationship with the museum.


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