A delegation from the Gangalidda-Garawa First Nations received a number of cultural artefacts from the Manchester Museum on Tuesday in a hand back program that will see the items repatriated to their traditional Country in Far North Queensland.
The hand back forms part of a 'Return of Cultural Heritage project', a program facilitated by the Australian government in partnership with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATISIS).
The program seeks to return Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage material from overseas collecting institutions back to its original custodians and owners.
The artefacts returned to the Gangalidda-Garawa peoples had been off Country for over a century and the hand back will be the first ever repatriation of artefacts from the United Kingdom back to their rightful First Nations Country in Australia.
The artefacts will return to Country during the week of 16th December where they will be used in ceremony once again.
Two delegates from the group said it was both a historic and emotional moment.
"It was an immensely proud moment for myself as a young Aboriginal person, as a young Gangalidda man, to be able to play a small part in bringing our cultural heritage materials back home to Country where they belong," said Mangubadijarri Yanner.
While Senior Garawa man, Uncle Donald Bob, said he felt "really heartbroken" to see the artefacts which "come from way across on the other side of the world" being displayed in the UK museum.