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SA Museum Restructure Places Aboriginal Ancestral Remains Repatriation Process at Risk

The SA Greens have called on the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to intervene to ensure the South Australia Museum restructure does not stymie the aboriginal ancestral remains repatriation program in light of the uncertainty caused by the current South Australia Museum restructure.  

The SA Museum cares for almost 5,000 ancestorial remains, with the Museum’s Humanities team having successfully returned more than 700 ancestors to country in the past six years, developing bonds of trust with community. The proposed restructure places the program at risk.  

The question raised in Parliament by the SA Greens follows concern expressed by the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee to the Arts Minister, Andrea Michaels, over the lack of consultation and implications of the restructure for the repatriation process.  

Quotes attributable to Greens Arts Spokesperson Tammy Franks MLC:  

‘The repatriation of ancestors is a key commitment of the South Australian government and yet this restructure puts this program at risk’ The State Aboriginal Heritage Committee have expressed their concerns that the repatriation manager has developed significant relationships of trust, carefully built over recent years, but has been told that they will have to reapply for their job.  

‘The humanities team has successfully returned more than 700 ancestors, compared with only 49 in the previous 10 years. However, with the loss of expert knowledge and fewer staff positions intended, there are concerns that the museum will no longer appropriately continue these responsibilities.’ 

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