‘As Native Americans, We Are in a Constant State of Mourning’

Title: ‘As Native Americans, We Are in a Constant State of Mourning’
Author: Chip Colwell
Media Outlet: The New York Times
Publish Date: April 4, 2019

(…) Museums are reconsidering who is the rightful owner of the objects that fill displays and storerooms. For example, the Netherlands’ national museums have established guidelines for returning objects obtained without consent. In Germany, 16 states agreed in a joint resolution to repatriate items taken during the country’s colonial era. Scotland said it will soon deliver to Canada the stolen skulls of two Beothuk Indians. England’s Natural History Museum recently sent home 37 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestral remains to Australia. And that’s just in the first few months of 2019.

(…) Museums should not see repatriation only for what is lost. They should also see what is gained. (…) Such gains are extended even further when the return of ancestors and artifacts becomes a form of restorative justice. Like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission following the abolishment of South Africa’s apartheid system, repatriation involves, as Desmond Tutu wrote, “the healing of breaches, the redressing of imbalances, the restoration of broken relationships.”