Ngarrindjeri elders have travelled from the Coorong in South Australia to Victoria this week – for a ceremony in which the Museum has handed 74 Ngarrindjeri ancestral remains back to their people. ATSIC Commissioner Klynton Wanganeen says that while he welcomes the return of ancestors, the state government should seriously considering supporting the Ngarrindjeri to properly care for the remains. Museum Victoria has an ongoing program to return remains – which has seen them give back more than 850 sets of human remains to communities around the country since 1985. Museum CEO Dr Patrick Green has expressed his sorrow and regret for past practices, apologising for the ongoing distress the removal of remains had caused to the Ngarrindjeri peoples. But with ancestral remains being dug up in Victoria at the rate of 6 to 10 per year – it seems that the museum will continue returning ancestors to their peoples for some time yet. The Museum’s Head of Indigenous Cultures, Michael Green, speaks about the remains handed back today – and the issues surrounding museums and Aboriginal communities.
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