British Museum: Return the Easter Island statue to its rightful home

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The Easter Island statue of Hoa Hakananai’a has been held in the British Museum since 1868. It is the most spiritually important of the iconic Easter Island statues, and it is an invaluable part of their culture and heritage. The people of Easter Island are now asking for it to be returned. The British Museum must do the right thing and return this priceless part of their heritage.

When I read about how important this statue is to the indigenous people of Easter Island, I felt a responsibility as a British citizen to act. The British empire was guilty of some terrible things, but this is a chance to correct one of those wrongs. And with all that’s going on in Britain right now, this is an opportunity for us as a nation to show that we are an outward looking country that cares about other people.

When the governor of Easter Island met with the British Museum to ask for the statue back, she wept as she said: “We are just a body. You, the British people, have our soul”. This statue clearly has extremely deep spiritual meaning for the indigenous Rapu Nui people, and we have no right to deny them their heritage.

The 4 tonne statue is said to contain the spirit of an ancestral leader who brought peace to the island around a thousand years ago. Having last year gained self-administration over their ancestral lands on Easter Island, the Rapu Nui people have launched a campaign to recover their stolen heritage.

Please sign my petition to call on the British museum to return the statue immediately to its rightful owners.