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Museums repatriate Aboriginal remains

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 12 September 2003


Aboriginal remains collected from museums across Australia will be returned to their origins in Kimberley in Western Australia, as part of a repatriation program.

The move has been welcomed by Indigenous communities.

The remains of about 60 people have been gathered from Australian museums over the past three months as part of a nationwide program.

They are currently being kept by the WA museum before being returned to communities in the Kimberley.

Anthropologist Kim Ackerman says some of the remains were taken by 19th Century collectors in the name of science, but most have been uncovered from burial sites disturbed by construction or cyclones.

"There is a recognition now that it's not appropriate for institutions to hold these remains," Ms Ackerman said.

"In some instances... they were removed in most dubious circumstances."

Aboriginal leaders have welcomed the return of the remains but it is yet to be decided where they will now be kept.


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