Saturday, May 12, 2007

Tasmanian Aboriginals To Bring Home Remains Of 17 Ancestors From British Museum

Aboriginal elders, and representatives, from Tasmanian tribes will return this weekend from the UK with skulls, bones and teeth of their relatives, after the British Museum relented over a long-running battle to have the remains returned to their homelands for proper burial, as Aboriginal custom demands :

After three days of mediation proceedings in London this week, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) and the museum agreed on the repatriation of the remains - including teeth, skulls and bones taken from Tasmania in the 19th century and held in the museum's research collections.

Under the decision, all of the remains will be returned and the museum will no longer be able to extract genetic material from them or conduct invasive tests.

TAC delegate Greg Brown said he was pleased with the outcome.

"We're happy with what's been agreed because we've been able to stop any additional testing, which was our ultimate aim when we first came over," Mr Brown said.

"Our belief system is that any remains of the dead need to be kept on the land, in traditional country, and that any separation of the two means that the spirit of that person remains restless.

"We need to bring both back together ... we have a cultural obligation to ensure that happens."

The remains were originally stolen by white settlers.

Aboriginal remains are also currently held by Cambridge University, Oxford University and institutions in Scotland. So far, these institutions have refused to hand over the Aboriginal remains they once displayed like trophies.