Tag Archives: human remains

Return of cultural objects and human bones to Africa

In an open letter initiated by Berlin Postkolonal (also in English and French on the same page), many organizations, initiatives and individuals call on the German government to advocate for the restitution of ritual objects and human remains from colonial contexts of injustice. The letter can be signed by organizations until January 7, 2018. Please send a mail to buero(at)berlin-postkolonial.de. Please forward to appropriate organizations at home and abroad!

Karl May does not want to hand over scalps

For several years there have been demands from Ojibwe and other Native American Nations to the Karl May Museum in Radebeul near Dresden: several scalps that are in the museum collection should be returned. The museum had agreed to the repatriation of the human remains last year, but has now revoked this.

Red Haircrow, Native author and activist in Berlin, writes the following:

“The Karl May Museum is absolutely in the wrong, and no amount of their posturing, blustering or supposed concern for “doing the right thing” makes their attitude okay. They’re wrong. The scalp(s) need to be returned. This is an yet another ugly example of how the collecting of “native goods/items/remains” or cultural appropriation through Indian hobbyists or by museums and the like can cause international issues and continue historic trauma to Native Americans or other indigenous peoples.”

Beyond the Karl May Museum, there is also a current debate in Dresden about the handling of human remains in state museums, including in the Saxon Parliament through two small questions(here and here).

Thousands of dead in Berlin? PM of “No Humboldt 21! Moratorium for the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace”.

The member organizations of the international NGO alliance “No Humboldt 21!” urge the German government, the Berlin Senate and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin/Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SMB/SPK) to increase transparency regarding non-European human remains and cultural objects with special significance for the societies of origin. Continue reading