Portal:Australia/Featured article/Week 28, 2006

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Portrait of Yagan by George Cruikshank

Yagan was a Noongar warrior who played a key part in early indigenous Australian resistance to European settlement and rule in the area of Perth, Western Australia. After he led a series of attacks in which white settlers were murdered, a bounty was offered for his capture dead or alive, and he was shot dead by a young settler. Yagan's death has passed into Western Australian folklore as a symbol of the unjust and sometimes brutal treatment of the indigenous peoples of Australia by colonial settlers. Yagan's head was removed and taken to Britain, where it was exhibited as an "anthropological curiosity". It spent over a century in storage at a museum before being buried in an unmarked grave in 1964. In 1993 its location was identified, and four years later it was exhumed and repatriated to Australia. Since then, the issue of its proper reburial has become a source of great controversy and conflict amongst the indigenous people of the Perth area. To date, the head remains unburied.