Illinois museum returns items to Aboriginal Australians

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Museum has returned 42 culturally significant items to representatives of two Aboriginal communities in Australia.

A University of Chicago anthropologist who worked in Australia to record indigenous languages collected the items between 1929 and 1931. They were transferred to the museum in 1942.

The State Journal-Register reports that an Australian delegation received the artifacts Wednesday during a ceremony at the Illinois State Museum’s Research and Collections Center in Springfield.

Brooke Morgan, the museum’s curator of anthropology, said the items returned include secret, sacred, secular and ceremonial objects. They will be returned to Aranda and Bardi Jawi communities in Australia.

Morgan said the items will be used in Australia to “revitalize cultural practices” to teach young generations how to make these traditional artifacts.