Kaurna ancestors laid to rest

The development of the Wangayarta Smithfield Memorial Park was a pilot project between Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation (KYAC), the South Australian Museum, Adelaide Cemeteries and the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet and Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation.

“Our ancestors laid in a dark room, boxed, and it is only now that we begin to understand and address yesterday. As Smithfield becomes a reality, we can begin to re-land and rest those of our old peoples so we can heal together,” Jeffrey Newchurch, Chair of KYAC said.

The Kaurna community will bring their ancestors back to this very special place on Country where they will be remembered and protected in perpetuity.

“I am very proud that we are today able to lay to rest respectfully and with dignity the remains of Kaurna ancestors that were previously held away from the Country that means so much to their people and culture,” South Australian Premier Stephen Marshall said.

The South Australian Museum is the custodian of over 4,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestors. It is actively working with communities all over Australia to return all the old people to Country respectfully, through collaborative community led projects. Wangayarta memorialises the challenge, fortitude, and generosity of Kaurna People in sharing this repatriation with everyone, so that together we learn our history and share the truth. The Kaurna pilot project is an example of what could be achieved with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the future.

The Australian Government provides funding to the South Australian Museum through the Indigenous Repatriation Program-Museum Grants (the Program). The Program provides funding to eight eligible Australian museums to support their respective repatriation programs.

Learn more about Indigenous Repatriation.

 Brad Griffin.

Photograph: Brad Griffin.

Kaurna elder Uncle Moogy preparing the smoking ceremony. Photograph: Brad Griffin.

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