Appointments to Indigenous Repatriation Committee

1 May 2015

The Australian Government has appointed six members to the Advisory Committee for Indigenous Repatriation.

The committee provides guidance to the Australian Government on issues relating to international and domestic repatriation of Indigenous ancestral remains, playing a key role in the delivery of the Indigenous Repatriation program.

Mr Ned David has been reappointed as co-chair and will be joined by Miss Zoe Rimmer as co-chair. Mr Phillip Gordon has also been reappointed for two years. Mr Lyndon Ormond-Parker, Ms Carol-Lynn Christophersen and Mr Major Summer AM will join as new members of the committee for a three year period.

The members bring invaluable cultural knowledge and understanding to the important task of repatriating Indigenous ancestors to their communities. I appreciate the commitment of former and new members to working with the government and representing a collective voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on repatriation.

Mr Ormond-Parker is a Research Fellow who has advised and assisted governments, universities, museums and Indigenous communities in the repatriation process for many years.

Ms Christophersen is an anthropologist at the Northern Land Council, Northern Territory. She has been directly involved in international repatriations and studied at the Natural History Museum, London.

Mr Sumner AM is an Ngarrindjeri Elder from South Australia. He has been working with local, national and international communities for over 30 years and was appointed a Merit of the Order of Australia in 2014 for his significant service to Indigenous communities in South Australia.

I extend my thanks to outgoing members Ms Lynette Shipway, Professor Henry Atkinson and Mr Neil Carter for their significant contribution to the Advisory Committee for Indigenous Repatriation between 2012 and 2015.

A key contribution of the committee has been the development of the 2014 National Resting Place Consultation report. The report is important in ongoing discussions about a resting place to care for the remains of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestors that are unable to be returned to their communities.

I also acknowledge the pivotal role of the committee in helping to establish an Australian-French joint expert group, recently announced by Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP and French President, Mr François Hollande, aimed at facilitating the return of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestral remains from collecting institutions in France.

Through the Indigenous Repatriation program, the Australian Government is committed to ensuring the return of ancestral remains and secret sacred objects is carried out in a way that is respectful, inclusive and culturally appropriate.

More information about the Advisory Committee for Indigenous Repatriation and the National Resting Place report is available on the Ministry for the Arts website.

Biographies

Mr Ned David
Mr David is the Director at Yumi Education Support Services and Chair of the Magani - Lagaugal Registered Native Title Bodies Corporate. He is currently leading Gur A Baradharaw Kod (Torres Strait Sea and Land Council) (“GaB Kod”) in negotiations with institutions in the United Kingdom to bring back ancestral remains to their rightful custodians in the Torres Strait. Mr David has served as co-chair on the Advisory Committee for Indigenous Repatriation since 2012.

Miss Zoe Rimmer
Miss Rimmer is the Curator at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. She has extensive experience in repatriation, having worked on TMAG’s Indigenous repatriation program at various times over the past ten years. In 2013, she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, providing her with the opportunity to explore ways in which museums in the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom and France engage with Indigenous communities and showcase these cultures to a broader audience. Miss Rimmer has served as a member of the Advisory Committee for Indigenous Repatriation since 2012.

Mr Phillip Gordon
Mr Gordon is the Manager of Aboriginal Heritage at the Australian Museum. He advises communities on issues such as museum outreach and repatriation of ancestral remains and other significant cultural property, as well as providing advice to government agencies on cultural heritage and policy development.  He also plays an important role in working with cultural centres and keeping places in relation to development, maintenance and ongoing training needs. Mr Gordon has served as a member of the Advisory Committee for Indigenous Repatriation since 2012.

Mr Lyndon Ormond-Parker
Mr Ormond-Parker is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Health and Society, School of Population Health and the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, University of Melbourne. He has published and lectured on Aboriginal cultural heritage issues relating to ancestral remains, material culture and return of digital archival materials to communities. He is an adviser on repatriation to governments, museums and Aboriginal communities and has documented and catalogued ancestral remains and cultural artefacts in Australia and overseas.

Ms Carol Christophersen
Ms Christophersen is an anthropologist at the Northern Land Council Darwin in the Northern Territory. In 2012, she assisted with the facilitation of repatriation for eight Aboriginal ancestral remains from the Moravian Museum in Brno, Czech Republic, back to traditional custodians. In 2011, the Australian Government sponsored Ms Christophersen to work and study at the Natural History Museum, London, via a fellowship funded through the Indigenous Repatriation program.

Mr Major Sumner AM
Mr Sumner is an Ngarrindjeri Elder from the Coorong and lower lakes in South Australia. He has been involved in the repatriation of ancestral remains from London and Scotland back to Ngarrindjeri country. He has met with collecting institutions in the United Kingdom about repatriation for the remains of an estimated 600 Indigenous people. He is also a member of the World Council of Elders. Mr Sumner was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2014 for his significant service to the Indigenous communities in South Australia.