Queensland State Government leaves indigenous remains in limbo

Centre for Indigenous Cultural Policy

Bob Weatherall, Chair, Kamilaroi Land Trust
11 Tathra Street STAFFORD QLD 4053
Tel: 07 3315 5738 Mob: 0429 091 452 Email: bobweatherall@optusnet.com.au

28 September 2012

Queensland State Government leaves indigenous remains in limbo

For the past decade Bob Weatherall, a proud Kamilaroi man (Chair, Kamilaroi Land Trust) and respected repatriation expert has worked tirelessly to have Aboriginal remains in museums all over the world returned to Australia so they can be buried according to custom.

A long-awaited burial ceremony that was scheduled for tomorrow has now been cancelled due to the Newman Government’s slash and burn approach to indigenous funding in Queensland.

“The Northern Kamilaroi is one of four indigenous groups who participated in a Queensland government funded repatriation pilot study in south west Queensland that required them to draw up their repatriation plans. Now the government is refusing to fund the implementation of their plans.”

“Today, Aboriginal Elders across Queensland are in mourning,” Mr Weatherall said. “Premier Newman, his Ministers and Director Generals and their vicious funding cuts have left Kamilaroi peoples unable to proceed with a long-awaited burial ceremony,”

“Today we grieve because the promise to our people and our ancestors has been broken again. The good will that was building through the process of developing this repatriation plan has dissipated.”

“Today was to be a day of great emotion, of joy and solemnity, relief and triumph as a Kamilaroi delegation escorted the remains of their ancestors from the Queensland Museum back to their homelands.”

“The delegation would have passed through the countries of other nations who would greet them and grant them safe passage. Kamilaroi members would join the repatriation party along the journey home to St George where the collective would perform a welcome home ceremony and smoking and homecoming celebration. This was our vision for today.”

“Instead it is another day of great mourning, as it will also be tomorrow. At dawn, our ancestors were to be laid to rest in the land their mother, according to Kamilaroi tradition, and finally be freed to commence their journey to the spirit world. Now, we are left in limbo,” Mr Weatherall said.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Weatherall – 0429 091 452

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