Ngarrindjeri Repatriation: Kungun Ngarrindjeri Yunnan (Listen to Ngarrindjeri People Speaking)

Steve Hemming, Daryle Rigney, Major Sumner, Luke Trevorrow, Laurie Rankine Jr, Shaun Berg, Chris Wilson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


From the beginnings of contemporary South Australian Aboriginal heritage-management in the 1980s, the Ngarrindjeri nation, situated in the lower Murray region of southern South Australia, has prioritised the repatriation and reburial of ‘the first Stolen Generations’ (see Hemming and Wilson 2010). Ngarrindjeri histories tell of the impact of ‘unlawful’ removal or pethun (theft) of Old People (‘human remains’) from burial grounds and hospitals, and the role of museums and universities in the ‘collection’ of Old People’s bodies (see Bell 1998, 2008; Hemming 1996; Hemming and Wilson 2010; C. Wilson 2005). In the face of a devastating history of ‘Indigenocide’, Ngarrindjeri have tried to maintain cultural responsibility for Ngarrindjeri burial grounds and the bodies of Ngarrindjeri people (see Berndt et al. 1993; Evans and Thorpe 2001; Hemming 1996). Starting in the 1980s, Ngarrindjeri leaders began developing a repatriation program with national and international reach, its successes significantly contributing to the international Indigenous repatriation movement (see Fforde 2004; Hemming 1996; Hemming
et al. 2008; Hemming and Wilson 2010; Smith and Wobst 2005; Thomas 2000; Turnbull and Pickering 2010; WAC 2005).1 This program has been led by Ngarrindjeri organisations such as the Lower Murray Aboriginal Heritage Committee (LMAHC), the Ngarrindjeri Lands and Progress Association (NLPA), the Ngarrindjeri Heritage Committee (NHC), the Ngarrindjeri Tendi, and more recently, the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority (NRA).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Indigenous Repatriation
Subtitle of host publicationReturn, Reconcile, Renew
Editors Cressida Fforde, C. Timothy McKeown, Honor Keeler
Place of PublicationAbington, Oxon, UK
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780203730966
ISBN (Print)9781138303584
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Ngarrindjeri
  • Aboriginal heritage
  • South Australia
  • Burial grounds
  • Repatriation


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