Wanggajarli Burugun (We Are Coming Home)

© Gabriele Richter
Naomi Appleby, Azroum McKenzie, and Wynston Shovellor-Sesar before the ceremony at the Australian Embassy in Berlin.

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After waiting in Germany for 100 years, 14 remains from Roebuck Bay in Western Australia were accompanied home. The individuals were members of the Yawuru and Karajarri communities, living in the mid-19th century. Kidnapped into slavery and forced to work on luggers (pearling ships), the remains of the ancestors were brought to Europe as comparative specimens, a dehumanizing practice that supported eugenics and other racist theories.

On April 15, 2019, the repatriation ceremony to remember the ancestors drew visitors from across Germany and Australia to pay their respects. A landmark memorial, known as Wanggajarli Burugun, will be built in Broome to establish a resting place for the ancestors, serving as a site for reconciliation and healing.

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