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Aboriginal Smoking ceremony marks return of remains

Four Australian Aboriginal people in traditional dress have carried out a cleansing ritual at the University to mark the return of human remains to their homeland.

Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony in front of McEwan Hall

We are very happy that through returning these remains we are able to build a new relationship with the indigenous people of Australia.

Dr John ScallyDirector, University of Edinburgh Collections

The members of the Ngarrindjeri people burned eucalyptus leaves in front of the McEwan Hall in a 'smoking' ceremony.

The ritual completes a decade-long process that has seen remains held in the University's collection returned to Aboriginal peoples.

Important process

The Ngarrindjeri delegation is in Edinburgh for the handover of a minute bone from the ear of an Aboriginal woman.

The remains were acquired by the University over a hundred years ago, when Australia was a British colony.

Over the past decade we have been returning human remains to the Aboriginal cultures from which they came.

Dr John ScallyDirector, University of Edinburgh Collections