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Tasmanian artefact returns hoped to be the first of many

A few days ago, two packages of cremations ash were returned to Tasmania [1] by the British Museum.
In statements following the return, Tasmanian Aboriginal representatives have said that there are still other cases that they are pursuing for the return of other relics. Changes to Britain’s laws allowed museums to return human remains, but in no way obliged to museums to deal with such requests. The Natural History Museum for instance has so far ignored all such requests it has received from Tasmania.

ABC News (Australia) [2]

Last Update: Wednesday, September 6, 2006. 10:00am (AEST)
Campaign for Indigenous remains’ return continues

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) is continuing its fight to secure the release of the remains of Indigenous people from museums, after its success in London this week.

Ashes held at the British Museum since the 1830s were officially handed over to two TAC delegates, after a long battle with authorities.

The remains will be returned to traditional land in the state’s north-east.

The British Prime Minister enforced a law last year encouraging museums to return Aboriginal remains, but it is not mandatory.

The Aboriginal Centre’s Legal adviser, Michael Mansell, says the Natural History Museum refuses to discuss its collection.

“Although other museums take a very different view and hand material back, the Natural History Museum of London does not,” he said.

“We know even though we’ve got a success at the moment we’ve got a lot of work to do with the Natural History Museum.”

The museum has confirmed the director is meeting the TAC delegation next week.