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Record number of Indigenous ancestors returned from Germany

The Australian Government welcomes the return of 53 Australian Indigenous ancestors from five collecting institutions in Germany this month. This will be the largest number of ancestors returned from Germany to date.

The first ceremony will be hosted in Munich on Tuesday 9 April, where the Munich Five Continents Museum will return the remains of a Gimuy Walubara Yidindji Ancestral King to community representatives from Cairns in Queensland.

A direct descendent of the Ancestral King, Yidindji Elder Gudju Gudju, will take custodianship of the Ancestral King and accompany his ancestor back to Australia.

In the second repatriation ceremony in Stuttgart on Friday 12 April, eight ancestors will be returned from the University of Freiburg and two from the Linden-Museum, Stuttgart. These ancestors will be returned to Australia under Australian Government stewardship, so they can be cared for closer to home while further work is undertaken to identify their communities of origin.

On Monday 15 April, Australian Ambassador H.E. Ms Lynette Wood will host a ceremony at the Australian Embassy in Berlin to acknowledge the return of 37 ancestors from the State Ethnographic Collections, in Saxony, and five ancestors from Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg.

Yawuru community representatives will be in attendance to take custodianship of seven Yawuru ancestors being returned from the State Ethnographic Collections. Yawuru community representatives Mr Neil McKenzie, Yawuru Law Boss and Mr David Puertollano will accompany the Yawuru ancestors' home. The other 35 ancestors will be returned under the stewardship of the Australian Government, where further community consultation will be undertaken to return these ancestors to Country.

The Government would like to thank the German State Governments and the collecting institutions for their commitment to recognising the significance of repatriation for all Australians, which contributes to healing and reconciliation.

The Government is committed to assisting Indigenous communities pursue the unconditional return of ancestral remains held in overseas collections. The Indigenous Repatriation Program plays a key role in facilitating the returns.

For more information visit: www.arts.gov.au/repatriation

Media contacts:

Geraldine Mitchell | 0407 280 476 | Geraldine.Mitchell [at] communications.gov.au
Guy Creighton | 0438 815 302 | Guy.Creighton [at] communications.gov.au