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Aboriginal remains to be welcomed home

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 7 October 2004

The remains of 20 Aboriginal people will be welcomed home in a special ceremony at the National Museum in Canberra today, after their return by Swedish conservators.

Repatriation director Michael Pickering says the museum will assist communities in returning the remains to their resting places.

He says the collection is mostly from the Kimberley, in northern Western Australian, and was taken from Australia nearly 100 years ago by a Swedish scientific expedition.

"One of the members of this team was a vigorous collector of remains and collected remains from burial sights and burial trees - remains were exposed in trees," he said.

"He was taking remains from recently dead people and then he took them out of the country illegally at the time."

He says it is pleasing Swedish conservators took the initiative and were first to approach the museum.

"What makes the difference in the past, a lot of museums have returned remains following requests and sometimes pressure by Aboriginal people and Indigenous representative bodies," he said.

"In this case however the Swedish initiated the return, they found the remains, they decided to make the return."

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