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Swedish museum in Hawaiian skull handover

AFP/The Local · 15 Nov 2009, 08:45

Published: 15 Nov 2009 08:45 GMT+01:00

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Three representatives of the Group Caring for the Ancestors of Hawaii attended the ceremony, as well as some 30 representatives from the Swedish indigenous Sami people, the museum, the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm University and the Swedish ministry of culture.

"The Museum of National Antiquities is returning five skulls and the Karolinska Institute is returning 17," spokeswoman Ulrika Mannberg told AFP.

The skulls were brought to the Scandinavian country in the late 1880s by a Swedish researcher identified only as Dr Holmer, who took them from burial sites in Hawaii.

The skulls were for a long time kept at Uppsala University, north of Stockholm, and five of them were donated to the museum in 1997.

The Swedish government decided in May 2009 that the skulls should be returned to the Hawaiian community.

Story continues below…

Swedish museums have since 2004 returned the remains of dozens of Aborigines to Australia and a totem pole to a Canadian aboriginal tribe.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:32 November 15, 2009 by Nemesis
Those skulls should have been returned long before now.
10:41 November 15, 2009 by karex
Better late than never. I don't see any other country taking this initiave yet. That's the most important part: there has been no world-wide outrage forcing anyone's hand - they decided that it was the right thing to do all on their own. Hope this initiative becomes an example to others.
11:09 November 15, 2009 by AnatoleEric
No, no, let's take the opportunity to vilify Sweden a little. It's a country of evil anti-semitic girly-men after all.
12:05 November 15, 2009 by Sunshine09
Many Maori heads (toi moko) have been returned to New Zealand over the last few years from the UK (England and Scotland); however there are many more still to be returned, and some countries still refuse to return these sacred human remains. So well done to Sweden. In fact I had thought Sweden was one of the countries returning preserved heads to NZ too???
13:31 November 15, 2009 by skatsouf
Time for UK and the British Museum to return the Parthenon marbles Lord Elgin looted to the new Acropolis museum. This was another praiseworthy initiative by swedish museums.
15:39 November 15, 2009 by karex
The human remains are the most sensitive and important, though some artefacts which are intrinsic to specific cultures should also be returned. I think that the museums should start returning mummies to Egypt too. These museums lend exhibits to each other nowadays, so it can be a win-win.
23:24 November 15, 2009 by wxman
Does Sweden have any Egyptian mummies or any prehistoric European bog people on display?? Better return those too, you know, so as not to appear to be hypocritical.
08:38 November 16, 2009 by La Figaro
Well done Sweden

UK please follow suit as a lot of the artifacts in your museums were looted from overseas. Infact, the word LOOT is a Hindi word that entered the English vocabulary as a result of the British plundering and pillaging of India during the colonial times. Other colonial countries weren't spared either.
11:19 November 16, 2009 by karex

Don't know if Sweden has any mummies. My comment was relating to all museums in general.
15:17 November 20, 2009 by jglammi
So, all skeletal remains discovered and residing beyond the earth in which they were found , such as in research institutes, should be returned t the earth? And archaeological/anthropological study should cease? Nonsense.
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