Aboriginal bones to return home from Sweden

The skeletons and skulls belonging to a number of Australian aborigines are set to return to Australia after a request was sent out from the Australian Embassy in Sweden.

In 2008, the Department of Education asked for archival provenance investigations to be carried out within the Karolinska Institute in order to determine whether any of the artefacts in its possession could be linked to Australia. The remains of seven aborigines have been kept at Stockholm’s Osteoarchaeological Research Laboratory for the last 50 years.

Lecturer Jan Stora told The Local, “We are prepared for these objects to be returned to their country of origin, and we’ve held them here in safe-keeping”.

Paul Stephens, an Australian Embassy representative, said: “Australian government policy is to support the return of indigenous human remains to their communities of origin wherever possible”.

A number of universities and museums across Sweden were asked to return Aboriginal remains in 2008. The bones, which are several hundred years old, will be brought back to Australia with a delegate from the Kauma Nation Cultural Heritage Association. The collection consists of two skeletons which are almost complete and five additional skulls.

The bones will follow 32 individual remains which have already found their way back to Australia from Sweden.