German Museum Refuses to Hand Back Scalps to Native Americans

Survival International
29 April 2014

A German museum set up to promote greater understanding of Native American culture is embroiled in controversy after refusing to hand back American Indian scalps to their modern-day descendants.

The Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians from Michigan (USA) have urged the Karl-May-Museum Radebeul in Germany to return remains of their ancestors that have been on display there.

The Sault Tribe – also known as Ojibwe – are part of the Anishinaabe Nation and have told the museum, ‘It is not acceptable for those remains to be stored in a depot and not re-interred to the Earth for a proper burial.’

Although the museum has now agreed to remove the items from display, they have pointedly refused to return them to the tribe, on the basis that it has not been proven which tribe the scalps originate from. The scalps are now apparently in storage in the museum.

The museum, based in Radebeul near Dresden and named after the popular adventure writer Karl May, possesses several scalps and spiritual items of the Anishinaabe (Chippewa) and other Native American nations.

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