21 Nov 2012

More museums open to repatriation to tangata whenua

7:24 pm on 21 November 2012

An Aboriginal tribal elder from Western Australia says more and more museums around the world are appreciating the significance of repatriating ancestral remains back to their traditional homelands.

Irene Stainton belongs to the Nyoongar people near Perth and is the indigenous trustee at the Western Australia Museum who worked with Te Papa Museum recently to return home a number of Maori koiwi tangata to Aotearoa.

She says over the past decade more museums around the globe have started to co-operate closely with tangata whenua.

Ms Stainton says she was involved in a repatriation project 12 years ago to bring home some ancestral Aboriginal remains from a British museum and represented the Western Australian State Government in those negotiations.

She says recently her indigenous colleagues were able to strike a deal with a museum in Europe to repatriate some skeletal remains back to the Northern Territory.

Ms Stainton says more and more of these opportunities are starting to occur.