First Aboriginal remains to be returned from U.S.

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A group of Aboriginal elders on Saturday left Australia for the United States to bring home the remains of 33 ancestors from the Smithsonian Institute, the first Aboriginal remains to be returned from the United States.

Aborigines have fought for decades for the return of ancestral remains from overseas universities and museums where they have been taken for scientific and anthropological studies.

Aborigines have inhabited Australia for some 45,000 years and have the world's longest living culture. They believe that their spirit can not settle until it is reunited with their land, which they regard as their mother.

"Sixty years after leaving our shores, these are the first indigenous Australian remains to be returned from a major American institution," said Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin.

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