Manchester Museum has agreed to return forty-three sacred objects to Indigenous Australians after they were taken offshore almost a century ago.
The items will be returned to their traditional owners – the Aranda people of Central Australia, Gangalidda Garawa peoples’ of northwest Queensland, Nyamal people of the Pilbara and Yawuru people of Broome.
The decision was made in response to a push from the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) who have been fighting for more than just the return of ancestral remains.
CEO of the AIATSIS, Craig Ritchie says that the return of the sacred items represents a turning point for repatriation in Australia.
He says the unconditional status of the agreement means that for the first time the objects will be returned directly to indigenous communities who will be able to continue to use the cultural heritage items for ceremony and cultural preservation.