German museum returning looted items to indigenous Alaskans

Historical items, plundered from the graves of indigenous Alaskans, displayed during a ceremony at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. The Ethnological Museum handed over looted items from their collection to an official of the Chugach Alaska Corporation, which represents indigenous people in the Chugach region. (Ralf Hirschberger/dpa via AP)

BERLIN - A Berlin museum is returning wooden masks, a child's cradle and other items plundered from the graves of indigenous Alaskans by an explorer sent by its predecessor in the 19th century.

The Ethnological Museum on Wednesday will hand over the items to an official of the Chugach Alaska Corporation, which represents indigenous people in the Chugach region.

The items were collected for Germany's Royal Museum of Ethnology by Norwegian adventurer Johan Adrian Jacobsen between 1882 and 1884.

They were taken from graves on Chenega Island, though the specific location is no longer known.

Berlin museum authorities have been working with the Chugach since 2015 on the restitution.

The Chugach requested the nine items from some 200 in the museum's possession. They plan to put the objects on display in their own museum.


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