Jobs Events Advertise

Anindilyakwa cultural heritage material arrives in Australia

Dechlan Brennan -

The historic return of cultural heritage materials to their original home is almost complete, with the arrival of 174 Anindilyakwa items into Darwin.

Senior Anindilyakwa men Eric Amagula, Lionel Jaragba and Anthony Lalara viewed the historical material at the MAGNT Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, where they have been repatriated from the Manchester Museum to their home on Groote Eylandt.

The items include culturally significant enungkuwa (spears), ajamurnda (bark baskets), errumungkwa (woven armbands) and dadikwakwa-kwa (painted doll shells).

They have been returned to the Anindilyakwa community, Traditional Owners of the land and waters of the Groote Archipelago in the Northern Territory.

The return from the Manchester Museum has been facilitated by the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), who lead the Australian Government's Return of Cultural Heritage (RoCH) program.

In September, 2022, the Manchester Museum joined a RoCh team for consultations with the Anindilyakwa community, with a focus on a large collection of objects that were acquired by British sociologist and social anthropologist, Peter Worsley. He had collected them during his PhD fieldwork on Groote Eylandt in the 1950s.

His manuscript collection is held by AIATSIS whilst the object collection was maintained by the Manchester Museum.

In September of this year, Anindilyakwa community representatives Danjibana Noeleen Lalara, Maicie Lalara and Amethea Mamarika travelled from Groote Eylandt to be on-hand to receive the items in a historic and "highly significant" return.

AIATSIS acting chief executive Leonard Hill noted at the time that Manchester Museum had been the custodian of the collection for more than half a century.

"[N]ow, in collaboration with AIATSIS, they are being returned to their custodians - the children and grandchildren of those who created them," he said.

Wanindilyakwa Elders Ida and Elaine Mamarika said seeing the spears can bring back "lost memories of the past."

"[But] they can't be in a container, we want it in a museum… [They're] better off coming back to Australia, and we can see the things that are made here. Five-and six-years-olds want to see what Old People did, in a museum display for us."

The Anindilyakwa community, along with AIATSIS, the Anindilyakwa Land Council and special guests, will celebrate the return of the material at an event on 21 November.

   Related   

'Concerning' NT land council referred to integrity body
The federal government is set to investigate allegations of misconduct at the Anindilyakwa Land Council after a damning audit....
Neve Brissenden 24 Feb 2024
Victorian First Peoples Art and Design Fair looks to bring 'whole gamut' on debut in 2025
Inaugural Victorian First Peoples Arts and Design Fair senior project manager Janina Harding has “big plans” for seeing creative...
Jarred Cross 24 Feb 2024
Rolfe recorded 46 use-of-force incidents during stint
A Northern Territory police officer who shot dead an Indigenous teenager recorded 46 use-of-force incidents between 2016 and 201...
Neve Brissenden 23 Feb 2024
Man involved in Old Parliament House fire avoids prison
A man involved in a blaze at Old Parliament House that caused millions of dollars in damage has been sentenced to an 18-month su...

   Dechlan Brennan   

Experts say MP's approach to NT youth crime is not evidence-based
Experts have criticised calls from Labor MP Marion Scrymgour for the NT to show “tough love” to juvenile offenders, arguing her...
Dechlan Brennan 23 Feb 2024
Mick Gooda says PM should have adopted "watered down" Voice to secure bipartisan support
Former Australian Human Rights Commissioner and prominent Yes campaigner Mick Gooda says the Prime Minister and fellow Yes campa...
Dechlan Brennan 23 Feb 2024
First Nations Business Trade Fair back in Naarm
The First Nations Business Trade Fair in Naarm was held on Wednesday, on the banks of the Birrarung (Yarra River). Hosted by Su...
Dechlan Brennan 23 Feb 2024
'There need to be consequences for actions' : Legal groups condemn NSW police after guilty officer keeps job
Legal groups in NSW say they are concerned a police officer found guilty of assaulting an Indigenous teenager is still employed...
Dechlan Brennan 22 Feb 2024