US forced to return Ghana looted artifacts
Seven royal artifacts looted 150 years ago by British colonial forces from Ghana's ancient Asante kingdom and kept by a United States museum have been returned and presented to the kingdom, the latest of a series of stolen treasured items being repatriated to several African countries.
British-colonized Ghana in the 19th century before being transferred to Fowler
Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the 1960s, the
artifacts included an elephant tail whisk, an ornamental chair made of wood,
leather and iron, two gold stool ornaments, a gold necklace and two bracelets.
"We are here ...
(because) the white man came into Asanteman to loot and destroy it,"
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, the king of the Assante kingdom in Ghana's largest city of
Kumasi, said at a presentation ceremony that brought joy and relief to the
After decades of
resistance from European and other Western governments and museums, the efforts
of African countries to repatriate stolen artifacts are paying off with the
increasing return of treasured pieces. Activists, though, say thousands more
are still out of reach.
The royal items were
first received by the kingdom on Monday, which marked the 150th anniversary of
when British colonial forces sacked the Asante city in 1874.
The repatriation of
the artifacts to Ghana "signifies the return of our souls," said
Kwasi Ampene, a lecturer who helped negotiate their return.
All seven items are
being returned unconditionally and permanently though the kingdom allowed their
replicas to be made, the museum added.
The items are seen as
symbols of prestige and reverence for the Asante ruler and having them back is
a dream come true, according to Samuel Opoku Acheampong, a staff of the Asante