Iwi stolen from Hawaii a century ago are coming home

Published: Oct. 26, 2017 at 9:24 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 26, 2017 at 9:30 PM HST
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Dresden, Germany - Human remains stolen from burial caves in Hawaii more than a century ago are finally returning to their resting place.

A group of Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners went to Germany to retrieve the remains, called iwi kupuna.

During an emotional ceremony earlier this week, the Museum of Ethnology Dresden transferred three skulls and a jaw bone to the group. It's been a 25-year effort to bring these remains home.

"I want to remain clear that we are deeply sorry for the long-lasting way of the return and we apologize for that," said Marion Ackermann, Dresden State Art Collections director general.

"Thank you for the apology that was made and for the step and courage of moving forward," said Edward Halealoha Ayau, former Executive Director of Hui Malama i na kupuna o Hawaii Nei.

The group arrives back in Hawaii on Thursday night.

The remains will be going to undetermined locations on Oahu and the Big Island. This is the first time the eastern German state of Saxony, which owns the museum, has repatriated human remains to a country where they came from.

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