Museums Victoria to return sacred objects to Indigenous people

By AG Staff 20 July 2017
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Indigenous people say repatriation is an important step towards reconciliation.

Museums Victoria will return 24 sacred objects belonging to the Arrernte tribe of Central Australia through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Repatriation Program.

A group of Arrernte male edlers requested the return of certain items upon visiting Museums Victoria in 2013.

The selected items will now be housed by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT).

The collection will be delivered to MAGNT early tomorrow, then taken to the Strehlow Research Centre’s purpose built facility for storage and viewing by the Arrernte male Elders.

Shaun Angeles, MAGNT Artwe-kenhe (men’s) Research Officer explained the signifcance of bringing the objects home.

“These sacred objects left this Country over 100 years ago, so this is a really significant event. We are all very proud to see these important objects come home. At this time we also remember our forefathers who revered and cared for these objects for so long.”

We, as Arrernte men would like to thank the Australian Government, the Indigenous Repatriation Program and Museums Victoria for this opportunity.”

Museums Victoria’s Senior Curator of Anthropology, Dr Philip Batty reinforced the Museums committment to repatriation.

“The repatriation of Indigenous cultural property is both a rewarding and complex process that can take years to finalise”, he said, adding, “the most important aspect of this process is the close ties that invariably develop between the museum and the source communities.”

The Australian Government’s Indigenous Repatriation Program has returned almost 1474 ancestral remains from overseas facilities over the past 25 years.