TUESDAY, July 8 - Exeter Museum returns human remains to Australia

PUBLISHED: 13:59 08 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:15 10 June 2010

HUMAN remains from Exeter s Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) will tomorrow be returned to the Ngarrindjeri people for repatriation to Australia.

HUMAN remains from Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) will tomorrow be returned to the Ngarrindjeri people for repatriation to Australia.

A cleansing ceremony and the formal handover will take place at RAMM in the library - the museum's temporary city centre home.

The cleansing ceremony will be held outside the gallery at 12.45pm, followed by the formal presentation at 1pm.

The remains will be handed over to representatives of the Ngarrindjeri people from whom they were taken in the 19th century, together with representatives of the Australian Government.

Provenance investigations into RAMM's Australian remains determined that they were taken from the Ngarrindjeri people who are struggling to have their ancestor's remains returned from museums in Australia and overseas.

Exeter City Council supports the repatriation of human remains and the Ngarrindjeri people were informed.

Mr Tom Trevorrow, chairman of the Ngarrindjeri nation heritage committee, said: "The Ngarrindjeri people of the Lower Murray, Lakes and Coorong Region in South Australia are truly thankful to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum for returning our old people's remains back to us so that they can be laid to rest once again in their own birthland, the Ngarrindjeri Yarluwar-Ruwe (Sea Country) of their creation, culture and beliefs.

"We have been waiting a long time for this process to take place and also wish to thank the UK government and Australian government for making repatriation possible. We encourage other institutions throughout the world to adopt and follow this respectful cultural process of returning old people's human remains back to their traditional owners, relations or families.

"It is a positive step culturally and spiritually for the Ngarrindjeri people and a contribution to the healing of wrongful and hurtful colonizing practices making the returns of our old people and a step towards reconciliation."

Cllr Kevin Mitchell, Exeter's lead councillor for environment and leisure, said: "The council is delighted to be able to help the Ngarrindjeri people with their quest to have their ancestors returned.

"RAMM is a dynamic museum. Grounded in the city, it is outward looking and always keen to redefine its strong international links. We are pleased that this chapter can be closed amicably and hope this will be the start of a new friendship.

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