Yesterday, at an official event in Moungibi (Burketown), the Gangalidda Garawa peoples celebrated the return of 12 culturally significant objects from Manchester Museum at The University of Manchester.
The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians said the event marked the culmination of a journey which started over 100 years ago and brought closure to the Gangalidda Garawa people.
“This is a great moment of healing, as well as an opportunity to understand the significance of Indigenous culture and celebrate our way of life which continues to this day,” Minister Wyatt said.
“It’s an opportunity for all Australians to learn and understand a little bit more of Aboriginal culture and the important place these items hold within our culture.”
The handover follows the Museum’s landmark decision to unconditionally return 43 items from its collection to four Aboriginal communities.
Representatives from the Gangalidda Garawa peoples as well as staff from the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) travelled to Manchester, United Kingdom in November 2019 to collect the Gangalidda Garawa items.
More than 100 Gangalidda Garawa peoples and other special guests attended this significant and moving event, including Her Excellency, Vicki Treadell CMG, MVO - British High Commissioner to Australia and Ms Clare Keenan, CEO Burke Shire Council.
Chairperson of the Ganaglidda Garawa Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, Murrandoo Yanner, said, “Gangalidda people have come from far and wide.”
“It’s a very, very powerful event and it helps in the cultural revival that’s going on. So many of these things, if people have forgotten how to make these necklaces with the spinifex resin and the kangaroo teeth, they’ll be able to use this as a working model.”
“It’s come full circle and we can close that pain, or that absence, or that injustice can be closed and it’s a clean balance.”
Read more about the Return of Cultural Heritage project.