Return of cultural heritage material to the Aranda people

Release Date: 
8 November 2019
Media release

A powerful handover ceremony was held this week in Alice Springs to the mark the final journey home of 11 cultural heritage items to the keeping place of the Aranda people of Central Australia.

The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians, who attended the ceremony described the handover as a significant moment for the Aranda people.

“The return of these culturally significant objects signifies an important moment of healing for these communities,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Importantly, it demonstrates the Morrison Government’s commitment to work with cultural authority from throughout Australia to preserve our unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, and provides all Australians with the opportunity to learn about the significance of these objects through truth-telling and to gain a greater understanding of our nation’s shared history.”

The handover marks the first on-Country ceremony of the AIATSIS Return of Cultural Heritage project and follows the journey of the Aranda delegation to Springfield, Illinois USA to officially collect these items and accompany them home.

Braydon Kanjira, Aranda ceremonial leader said “todays, handover ceremony was very powerful and meant a lot to me, as an Aranda Ceremonial Leader. It touched my heart. You can see by the reactions of the Senior Aranda Men here today that it meant a lot to all of us, we didn’t know whether to show our emotions or just hold it in.”

“I experienced the same feeling when I travelled to America to bring our artefacts home, its good they’ve come back and can now rest forever.”

In attendance at the ceremony were Senior men of the Aranda community and Christopher Simpson, Director of the Return of Cultural Heritage project.

Read more about the Return of Cultural Heritage project.