(BIVN) – Human remains stolen from burial caves in Hawaii and taken to Germany more than a century ago are returning home.
On Octber 23, the Museum of Ethnology Dresden in Germany transferred the iwi kūpuna – three skulls and a jaw bone – to a Native Hawaiian group. The jaw bone and one of the skulls was from Hawaii Island. The remains were taken from caves between 1896 and 1902, and sold directly to the museum.
It was an emotional ceremony, at times, bringing a close a 25-year effort to return the ancestral remains to Hawaiʻi.
According to OHa, the event was historically significant because it marked the first time the museum repatriated human remains to representatives of the country where the human remains originated.
Video from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs shows the group of Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners as they traveled to Germany to retrieve the four iwi kūpuna. They were accompanied by OHA Chief Executive Officer Kamanaʻopono Crabbe.
“Their leadership is progressive and will reverberate throughout Germany and across Europe, and will hopefully usher in a new era of reconciliation and spiritual healing with native and indigenous peoples throughout the world,” Crabbe said.