IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Photos and text from wire services explorer detailed how he had found them in caves and taken them. He traced them to the Ethnological Museum.
He led a delegation to Berlin in 2015 and has been working since then with the museum and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which oversees Berlin’s museums, to establish their provenance and organize restitution.
Other items collected by Jacobsen were determined to have been fairly obtained through purchase or trade.
Elsewhere, Denmark has already returned human remains that were taken from the Chugach area. Johnson said much work remains researching the provenance of other artifacts scattered in museums around the U.S. and the world, including Britain, Russia and Finland.
“Sometimes museums feel that this is the end, that it’s a sad day, but this is really a new beginning,” he said. “The more you work together, the more you understand and enjoy the significance of these artifacts.”
Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation President Hermann Parzinger carefully handed one of the masks to Johnson at a ceremony Wednesday, saying he hoped they could work together on future historical and cultural projects.
John Johnson, right, of the Chugach Alaska Corporation and Hermann Parzinger, left, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, show a historical wooden item, plundered from the graves of indigenous Alaskans, during a ceremony at the...