• Paul TurnbullEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Pacific History book series (PASPH)


In concluding this book, I recalling some of my experiences in researching the history of the collecting and scientific uses of Indigenous ancestral remains, and how they have led me to see in the complexities of this history the deep and abiding spiritual bonds that Australia’s first peoples have with their ancestors, and to think that the return of remains may prove more valuable for present and future generations than what scientific analyses of their remains might yield. Moreover, in working with communities on repatriation, bit seems to me that there is every reason to believe that for all the controversy over this disturbing aspect of our colonial past, there is reason to think that it will see the development of trust between Indigenous peoples and scientists to the point that research involving the study of ancestral remains may be possible, but only if it grounded in an ethics of respect for beliefs, rights and obligations of Australia’s first peoples to the dead.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia
  2. 2.University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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