Ancestral remains returned to Goldfields community

  • Ancestral remains returned to Tjiwarl people with repatriation ceremony at Sir Samuel Cemetery

A repatriation ceremony will be held today at the Sir Samuel Cemetery, about 43 kilometres north of Leinster, with the remains of an ancestor of the Tjiwarl people returned to the community and respectfully buried.

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage; Western Australian Museum and Tjiwarl Aboriginal Corporation have been working to return an ancestor of the Tjiwarl people to the Sir Samuel Cemetery, as part of the department’s ancestral remains repatriation program.

The ancestral remains were collected by the WA Museum in 1899 and cared for at the museum. The 19th and early 20th century practice of collecting human remains reflected the wider interest in indigenous peoples by museums worldwide.

Over the past two decades the WA Museum, through its Federal Government-funded Indigenous Repatriation Program, has been working with Aboriginal traditional owners to return their ancestors back to country.

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage is working in consultation with communities to repatriate to country, in an appropriate manner, ancestral remains that were once removed and that are currently held in temporary storage in various parts of the State.

As noted by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:

“I understand the importance to the Tjiwarl people to have their ancestor’s remains returned to country.

“With today’s repatriation ceremony the Tjiwarl people’s ancestor has been returned to country and will be buried at the Sir Samuel Cemetery in accordance with the community’s wishes.”

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