A Sami drum over 300 years old, which was confiscated by the Danes in 1692, has its rightful home at the Norwegian Indigenous Museum in Western Finnmark.
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The object – a so-called rune boom – is the oldest of only three complete original drums from this time. Now it must get permanent place in Sápmi.
Since 1979 has the ritual instrument has been temporarily deposited at the Sami Collections in Karasjok. But on December 1, the loan agreement with the National Museum in Copenhagen expires.
The Danish National Museum has several times asked to have the rare drum “home again”, something that provokes both the director at RiddoDuottarMuseat, the Sami Museum in Western Finnmark, and Sami Parliament President Aili Keskitalo.
They are very clear that the rune boom is already at home. Keskitalo has now written letter to Queen Margrethe, and asked her to instruct the National Museum.
Requirements for the Queen of Denmark: Give us the drum you took after bestial shaman killing 300 years ago
The direct inquiry from the President of the Sami Parliament to the Queen is diplomatically delicate. But it reflects at least as delicate in the Danes’ acquisition of the drum, as the royal power confiscated from the indigenous people in the north on sent 17th century.
The rune boom was incorporated into The Royal Kunstkammer, created by the dictatorial king Fredrik III I then Copenhagen Castle, and was later transferred to the National Museum in 1849 when the Danish state in line with the country’s new constitution took over the king’s private collections.
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The normal argument against reversal is the time aspect; that regimes and information which in its time were behind the export have ceased and thus can not be held responsible for alleged theft, and that the object now has a “natural” condition where it is today.
The best known examples are the art treasures that Mr. Elgin in his time took with him from the Acropolis, and which I today form a bearing part of the British Museum. At the same time it was then looting, if you want to use the word that probably saved the so-called marble frieze from The Parthenon Temple.
That museums and collections in other countries have saved treasures that would otherwise be lost if they remained in the country of origin is the other heavy argument.
Some regimes are still considered unfit to take care of their own cultural heritage. Others have facilitated everything for reversal, but repatriation is opposed by the government of the objects’ new host country. Again is the Acropolis and telling example.
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At the same time, some are leading the way. The Norwegian Kon-Tiki Museum itself took the initiative to begin repatriating archaeological material to Rapa Nui in Chile, better known as Easter Island. In his time explored by Thor Heyerdahl, who took with him and a number of objects from there to further research them in Norway. Now they get a natural abode in their home country.
Likewise, RiddoDuottarMuseat is a natural home for the rune boom that belonged to the shaman Anders Paulsen. His name is associated with the last of the store the witchcraft processes in Finnmark, one of the most costly processes against the indigenous people in the north.
Norway and Denmark have committed great injustice against the indigenous population. It will be a shame if the injustice continues.