Thursday, August 18, 2022

Lecture on Naga ancestral remains held in Dimapur

Staff Reporter

Lecture on “Naga Ancestral Remains, Repatriation and Healing of the Land”, was held at Room 03, at Kuda B Village, with renowned researcher and anthropologist, Dr. Dolly Kikon as speaker, here, on Wednesday. It was a part of Morung lecture XIV.
Speaking on the topic, Dr. Dolly said during the lockdown in 2020, Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford, England, decided to take down human remains of Naga ancestors which were exhibited in the museum for more than a century.
Describing it as “insensitive displays that highlighted the violent history of colonialism and imperialism”, she said this was part of the museum’s larger goal of “decolonising the museum.”
She informed that the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) was facilitator for the ongoing dialogue on the repatriation of Naga ancestral human remains.
“The Pitt Rivers Museum possesses the largest Naga collection in the world. There are approximately 6466 items comprising on human remains and non-human remains (like textiles, baskets, and jewelleries)”, she stated.
Dr. Dolly said it was in a spirit of dialogue and decolonisation that her colleague, Arkotong Longkumer, another Naga anthropologist in their role as researchers, started communicating with Pitt Rivers Museum.
She said colonisers who raided, invaded, burnt and punished Nagas were “exalted as Naga experts for more than a century.”
It is now acknowledged that many artefacts collected by colonial officers like Mills and Hutton were carried out often against wishes of Naga people, excluding some items which were gifts and tributes, the anthropologist said.
She maintained that there were also many items including Naga human remains they collected after “punishing the savages”, imprisoning them and burning down Naga villages.
“This was theft of Naga cultural artefacts and heritage after inflicting physical violence to the extent of causing death and destruction of property in our ancestral land”, she stated.
“The blind celebration of colonial ethnographers like Hutton and Mills even to the extent of honouring them with annual lectures in Nagaland underlines our colonised mindset”, she asserted.
Further, Dr. Dolly encouraged Nagas to join the journey “to bring back our ancestral human remains”. “Our ancestors are done entertaining the world for more than a century, they are done being exotic show pieces and they are done being misrepresented as primitives and savages”, she stated.
Earlier, the programme was chaired by Arien Jamir.


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