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Inuit remains to be returned to Nunavut: museum

The Canadian Museum of Civilization says it expects to return its cache of Inuit remains to Nunavut within a few months.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization says it expects to return its cache of Inuit remains to Nunavut within a few months.

The Gatineau, Que.-based museum has a large collection of human bones and burial objects that were dug up by archeologists in the last century.

In 2009, the Inuit Heritage Trust asked the museum to return the artifacts to Nunavut.

Researchers are still in the process of determining where all the remains came from, said David Morrison, the museum's director of archeology and history.

"We also want to record the human remains that we have as thoroughly as we can — to take pictures of them, to do measurements on them — so that we know everything that there is to be known about these remains, so that the information that they have is not lost," Morrison told CBC News on Monday.

Last week, the stolen remains of 22 Inuit from northern Labrador's Nunatsiavut region were reburied in a ceremony  in the region.

American researcher William Duncan Strong had taken the remains from gravesites in the abandoned community of Zoar and brought them to the Chicago Field Museum in 1927.

Morrison said the Nunavut remains and burial objects are estimated to be between 150 and 800 years old.

But he added that the bones are too old to identify, meaning their ancestry cannot be determined.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization has not accepted any human remains since the 1970s, Morrison said.

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