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Should the Natural History Museum negotiate over aboriginal remains?

It would appear that it is not just the Australians who are disappointed by the Natural History museum’s lack of cooperation [1] over requests to return Aboriginal remains from their collection. Now, a former member of the staff at the Manchester Museum has stated his regrets about the heel dragging by certain institutions over this issue, despite a willingness by the government to facilitate restitutions.

ABC News (Australia) [2]

Last Update: Saturday, October 21, 2006. 9:20am (AEST)
UK museum urged to negotiate over Aboriginal remains

A British museum expert says he wants to “hang his head in shame” because the Britain’s Natural History Museum is refusing to negotiate with the Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

The museum is believed to hold at least 17 skeletons of Tasmanian Aborigines, but it is refusing to tell the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre what it plans to do with them.

Tristram Besterman, formerly of the Manchester Museum, says he is disappointed the Natural History Museum is keeping the negotiations secret.

“From the British side of this discussion there is clearly only one appropriate and morally right outcome and so as far as I’m concerned this ain’t rocket science,” he said.

“They’ve got to come back, and the more swiftly the process and the more inclusively that is done the better.”