In this series of lectures, Indigenous people at the forefront of repatriation, from New Zealand, Hawaii, Australia, the USA and Japan, share their experiences, challenges and successes in achieving the return of their ancestors from museums around the world.
Local Ngunnawal elder, Jude Barlow, provides the Welcome to Country address followed by Mathew Trinca’s opening address. Welcome to Country is a traditional practice in which visitors are both welcomed and given permission to be on the traditional lands of local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.
Neil Carter, Lui Ned David and Major Sumner share their histories and experiences, identifying regional differences and similarities in repatriation activities. They state the importance of helping and learning from each other in their work.
Edward Halealoha Ayau talks about the importance of appreciating the spiritual guidance of the ancestors in approaching the repatriation of remains. He discusses the importance of recognising Native Hawaiian cultural values in repatriation activities, and describes some of the positive and negative experiences he has encountered in dealing with collecting institutions.
Amber Aranui discusses the potential for conflict between Maori cultural values and practices and those of Western systems. Aranui describes the emotional experiences for Maori in pursuing the return of ancestral remains and cultural objects.
Paul Tapsell describes the importance of understanding cultural beliefs and practices in attitudes towards ancestral remains. Repatriation reflects a responsibility for both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples to respect both the deceased and future generations.