The remains of 38 Narungga ancestors are laid to rest in a community-led ceremony.

A wooden ceremonial bowl rests on a table with a white cloth. Gum tree leaves surround the bowl and a piece of bark rests to the right. The bowl contains bark fragments.

The Narungga ancestors have been returned home in a private ceremony at the Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park located at the southern end of the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia.

The Narungga community laid the ancestors to rest in perpetuity in a designated section of the park only accessible to them.

The ceremony was supported through our Indigenous Repatriation Program and was a collaboration between the Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation (NNAC), Point Pearce Aboriginal Community Council (PPAC), South Australian Department of Environment (DEW) and the South Australian Museum.

'Narungga park rangers worked to identify an appropriate area where the ancestors would be laid to rest. This involved ensuring the area is elevated away from weather disturbances such as wind and rain, and regular monitoring to ensure any risks are mitigated,' said Anne Newchurch, Chair of the NNAC.

'It's a very emotional day as we finally return our Ancestors to Country on a designated piece of Narungga land, but it's also a sense of achievement because we're bringing them home.'

One of the ancestors being returned was repatriated from the Smithsonian Institute, National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. in July 2022, facilitated by the Department. 37 ancestors were returned from the South Australian Museum, supported through the Indigenous Repatriation Program – Museum Grants.

This program supports the repatriation of ancestors held overseas and the return of ancestors and secret sacred objects within Australia, through the Museum Grants, to their communities of origin to help promote healing and reconciliation.