Twenty-five skulls from indigenous Sami people were laid to rest Friday at a graveyard in northern Sweden, more than 70 years since they were exhumed.
The skulls were excavated at an old Sami burial ground in Lycksele in the 1950s – a time when racial biology was practiced in Sweden. The skulls were taken to the National History Museum in Stockholm for research.
It’s been 12 years since the Sami parliament in Kiruna, Arctic Sweden demanded that all Sami remains held in museums should be returned to their place of origin. And despite Friday afternoon’s ceremony, Mikael Jakobsson, chair of the Sami Parliament’s ethical council, says repatriation is taking too long, with Sami remains still in place at 11 state-owned museums.
“The work has been very slow,” he tells Swedish Radio.
Related stories from around the North:
Finland: In Santa’s hometown, are tourism and a railway threatening Sámi culture?, Cryopolitics Blog
Norway: Injustices against Sámi, Kven peoples to be examined by commission in Norway, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Report sheds light on Swedish minority’s historic mistreatment, Radio Sweden
United States: Inuit leaders to advance Indigenous human rights, Radio Canada International