Celebrating the launch of the R M Wunungmurra Community Repatriation Fund

R M Wunungmurra holding a basket of repatriated bio-samples. R M Wunungmurra holding a basket of repatriated bio-samples.
12 December 2023

Introducing the R M Wunungmurra Community Repatriation Fund - a tribute to Mr Ross M. Wunungmurra, a distinguished Yolngu man.  His commitment to a brighter future for his people and his pivotal role in the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics (NCIG) left an enduring legacy.

Mr Wunungmurra's vision and dedication instigated real change, he was instrumental in linking community in the Northern Territory with NCIG in the Australian Capital Territory and advocating for the return of biological samples collected from members of his community over 50 years ago. His advocacy for the repatriation of these samples, stored at NCIG, whilst recognising the benefits of genomics for his people, lead to the return of over 200 Yolngu samples in 2019. 

NCIG, guided by an Indigenous majority board, is dedicated to repatriating historical biological samples in line with community wishes. Once a community has decided that they would like their samples returned, NCIG works with Community Leaders to map out the many cultural considerations needed to return the samples in a honoured and respectful way.  This includes packaging and handling of each sample, documentation of who or which family group the sample belongs to, transportation, ceremony and burial.  The costs associated with this vary depending on each community and their requirements, and can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Your contribution empowers us to continue this vital work, returning samples to their rightful place and perpetuating Mr Wunungmurra's vision of unity and progress for generations to come.

To donate, please visit the giving page here.  Your support is appreciated.