Michael Mansell, renowned Aboriginal Activist since the 1970’s, Lawyer for the Aboriginal people since 1986, and a co-founder of the Aboriginal Provisional Government in 1990, had this to say about the repatriation of Aboriginal remains from Europe.
The damage to the Aboriginal community of having remains [overseas] is astronomical. The spirits of our dead are disturbed by being separated from their bodies. The remains are as important to us as land rights. It’s a much more volatile issue, closer to the heart than even getting our land back.
Source: Aboriginal remains repatriation – Creative Spirits, retrieved from https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/aboriginal-remains-repatriation
Uncle Karno felt very strongly about this issue as well, and travelled with Michael Mansell in 1990 to repatriate the remains for their people in June of 1990. Below is the excerpt of the Associated Press Article which was published in newspapers around the country.
Associated Press News article – published on June 21st 1990
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ The remains of eight Aborigines have been returned to their communities after years on display in British, French and Belgian museums.
Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell and Aborigine Karno Walker were met by elders and community representatives from around Australia when they arrived with the remains at Sydney Airport on Wednesday night.
Mansell said the remains, which included parts of eight bodies, would be given to their original communities and ″finally laid to rest″ in burial ceremonies.
He said lobbying for other remains still in overseas museums would continue.
″Some institutions need prompting from the Australian government. It has to step behind us to stop our moves being frustrated,″ he said.
Mansell and the Federation of Aboriginal Land Councils had fought for five years to have the remains returned to communities around Australia, and not to museums here.