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TORONTO – The ancestral remains of six people were returned to their homes in the Dokis First Nation in Ontario by the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, after being held there for more than a century.

In a press release on the repatriation of the remains, the Dokis First Nation said they have worked closely with the museum for years to confirm the origin of the remains and facilitate a respectful return.

On Tuesday, a signing ceremony was held at the Field Museum to officially transfer the ancestral remains to the Dokis First Nation.

Julian Siggers, President of the Field Museum, said it was their “privilege to have hosted representatives of the Dokis First Nation at the Field Museum for the important occasion to return these ancestral remains to their descendant community.”

“We want to express our gratitude to all of the wonderful staff, committees and board members involved at The Field Museum,” Dokis chief Gerry Duquette Jr. said in the statement. “It was truly an honor to work with everyone, especially Helen Robbins, to close this chapter in our history. The repatriation of these remains will guide their spirits home to peacefully reunite with their ancestors, and we are proud to have finally completed what my late grandfather Leonard Dokis started so many moons ago.

Duqette and the community have been working on the “Dead Island Repatriation Project” for several years, working to bring home the ancestors who were removed from their graves on the Dead Island.

The Dokis First Nation and the Field Museum discovered through collaborative research that the remains of the six individuals were first removed from their graves by anthropologist Thomas Proctor Hall in 1891.

The remains were taken by Hall on behalf of anthropologist Franz Boas to be displayed in exhibits at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, a fair held in Chicago to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in North America. North.

After the Exhibition, human remains became part of the museum’s collections, along with some of the other parts of the exhibition.

The Field Museum has an obligation to repatriate human remains and cultural objects to federally recognized Indigenous communities in the United States, due to a law passed in 1990 on the protection of Indigenous graves. But the museum has also been examining international repatriation requests since 1989.


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