To cooperate in any way possible to repatriate the remains of ancestors
The Konyak Union (KU) today said that it supports the initiative of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) and Recover Restore and Decolonise (RRaD) team to repatriate Naga ancestral remains from the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University.
This was expressed as the office bearers of the Konyak Union (KU) met a delegation of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) and Recover Restore and Decolonise (RRaD) team in Mon town on June 2.
In an official welcome address at the KU headquarters in Mon Town, KU President Tingthok Konyak and Vice President HA Hongnao welcomed the FNR and RRaD team comprising of Dr Reverend Ellen C Jamir, Dr Dolly Kikon, Manngai Nemdakly, and Kuvethilu Theluo.
The KU reiterated the importance of the repatriation process, with the union’s President noting that the KU had earlier sent an official letter to the FNR with a desire to learn about the repatriation initiative. The KU expressed happiness that the FNR and RRaD team accepted the queries and decided to visit them to “initiate a dialogue on decolonization, healing, and repatriation.”
The KU, it stated, is committed to support the Ancestral Naga remains initiative undertaken by the FNR with the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University and cooperate in any way possible to repatriate the remains of their respective ancestors. Considered as a historic event that requires Naga people to work towards unity, the KU President called upon the Naga researchers to focus on the historical relevance and importance of the repatriation process.
The KU Vice President meanwhile noted that the larger community heard about the Pitt Rivers Museum after the repatriation initiative started. He stated that the KU believes this is an important process but it is pertinent that all matters related to artefacts, whether human remains or cultural artefacts, are respectfully handled.
He meanwhile expressed dismay that a Konyak heritage handmade gun he had donated to the Kohima State Museum “went missing and cannot be traced till date.” He called upon the community and the state organs to “respect the process” and noted that such unfortunate incidents should not happen with any artefacts repatriated to the Naga homeland.
First published in The Morung Express on 2nd June 2023