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Museum to repatriate Inuit remains

July 20, 2010 at 10:05 AM

CHICAGO, July 20 (UPI) -- Chicago's Field Museum says it will return the remains of 22 Inuits to their original burial site in a remote region of northeastern Canada.

Helen Robbins, the museum's repatriation director, says a Field anthropologist crossed an ethical line in 1927 when he excavated marked graves against the wishes of the local community, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.

Robbins said William Duncan Strong wanted to answer questions about the origins and lifestyle of the Inuit people when he traveled to Zoar in Labrador Province with a research team.

The unearthing of the bodies, whose identities remain unknown, still angers the Nunatsiavut government that represents five Inuit communities in Labrador.

Inuit leaders learned the Field had the skeletal remains two years ago and asked for their return, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Labradorean official Johannes Lampe said removal of the remains was "immoral, disrespectful and disgraceful."

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