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Ethnologisches Museum Returns Objects to Alaska Natives

19.12.2017

The Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz is going to return nine objects from the collection of the Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin to the Chugach Alaska Corporation. The Foundation Board approved a proposal to this effect from the President.

The items concerned are grave goods of indigenous peoples from southwestern Alaska. They were among the objects brought to Berlin by Johan Adrian Jacobsen, who traveled along the American northwest coast and in Alaska between 1882 and 1884 on behalf of the Königliches Museum für Völkerkunde (Royal Museum of Ethnology), which was the forerunner of the Ethnologisches Museum.

Hermann Parzinger, the SPK's President, stated: "At the time, these objects were taken without the consent of the Alaska Natives and were therefore removed unlawfully from the graves of their deceased, so they do not belong in our museums. We will now be returning them to the Chugach Alaska Corporation, with whom we have been working to re-examine our collection since 2015."