Over the past eight years, ANU historian Martin Thomas has been working on Etched in Bone, a feature-length documentary made that he has made in collaboration with Béatrice Bijon from ANU’s School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics.
The film examines the theft of Aboriginal human remains by the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land in 1948, their removal to the Smithsonian Institution in the United States, and their eventual repatriation to the Arnhem Land community of Gunbalanya after a long campaign.
Etched in Bone will be launched on the evening of 4 October 2018 at the National Film and Sound Archive, a date that marks the seventieth anniversary of the bone theft. Key people who are featured in the film will be visiting from Arnhem Land for the occasion. On 5 October there will be a public symposium titled ‘Repatriation Revisited’ where you can hear the filmmakers, the Arnhem Landers and other scholars interested in repatriation. This is a unique opportunity to learn more about the story behind the film and discuss the issues it raises. Etched in Bone is distributed by Ronin Films.
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