Mokokchung: Dialogue on Repatriation of Naga ancestral human remains held


  • In a significant public engagement initiative, Jubilee Memorial College, Mokokchung hosted a dialogue on the repatriation of Naga ancestral human remains by the Recover, Restore, and Decolonise (RRaD) team on November 11.

    Mention maybe made that RRaD was founded by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation in 2021 to facilitate the repatriation of Naga ancestral human remains to the Naga homeland.

    A press release issued by the Jubilee Memorial College stated that the RRaD initiative, a team of researchers and human rights activists aims to generate awareness and build a case for the return of Naga human remains from the University of Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum.

    The dialogue, facilitated by Dr Ellen Jamir, Associate Professor of Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy at Oriental Theological Seminary, Nagaland, delved into repatriation’s historical context and social justice aspects.

    Dr Dolly Kikon, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Melbourne, served as the keynote speaker, offering insights into the significance of returning human remains taken during the period of British imperialism.

    Dr Kikon underlined the importance of understanding that not all human remains housed in museums are tied to head-hunting customs. Nagas used to decorate and maintain the skulls of their deceased loved ones honourably. However, during the colonial era, these customs were disturbed when the skulls were taken away without consent.

    Dr Kikon emphasised that repatriation serves as a stabilising factor that pushes us to understand our historical narrative authentically by acting as a bridge between the past, present, and future.

    The event also featured a documentary screening on the repatriation issue, followed by an engaging discussion with the attendees. This initiative by RRaD underscores a broader movement toward justice, inclusivity, and healing, urging the University of Oxford to acknowledge and act upon the rightful repatriation of Naga ancestral human remains.


First published in The Morung Express on 11th November 2023

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Recover, Restore and Decolonise


The Recover, Restore and Decolonise (RRaD) contains information and resources relating to the history and effects of the removal and repatriation of Naga Ancestral Remains. RRaD is a website that is constantly being developed and added to. Whilst we aim to only present information on this website that is appropriate for a public space, accurate and up to date, we would like to acknowledge that there are many gaps in the information shared which comes from both the historic record and our own knowledge. Please get in touch at [email protected] or any of our social media handles in our contact page, if you would like to share any thoughts or questions with us regarding repatriation, and/or if you have any comments, queries or suggestions on how we can make this website as useful and usable as possible.

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The purpose of this website is to create widespread awareness about the process of repatriation and the profound impact of colonization on Naga people. Please be warned that some of the information shared here may be distressing as they reference a problematic part of history when our ancestors were referred to as ‘savages’ and ‘inferior.’ There will also be stories of our ancestors who have passed away and their remains which were taken, researched on and displayed without consent by colonizers. We request that you take the information shared here with the gravity it deserves, and we believe that you will honour our guidelines of responsible use. 

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