Stockholm, 4 June 2022 (TDI): Mexico received indigenous cultural assets from the Swedish government which were kept in the World Culture Museum in Gothenburg.

The Embassy of Mexico in Stockholm and the Swedish government formalized the return of cultural assets, including the “Maaso Koba”. It is a sacred relic of the eight peoples that make up the Yaqui Nation in Mexico.

The embassy held a ceremony in which various officials participated.

The Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Martha Delgado Peralta; and the Director-General of Human Rights and Democracy of the Mexican Foreign Ministry, Cristopher Ballinas Valdés, participated in the ceremony.

Moreover, the Mexican ambassador to Sweden Francisco del Río López, and the Director-General of the Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg Ann Follin also took part.

Likewise, the director of International Affairs of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI), Saúl Vicente Vázquez also participated.

Meanwhile, the special rapporteur of the United Nations Organization on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Francisco Cali Tzay was present.

Several other Mexican and Swedish officials were also present during the ceremony in the Mexican embassy in Stockholm.

Return of Indigenous Cultural Assets

The development comes under the Justice Plan for the Yaquis people and after a 19-year struggle by the indigenous group.

Agreements between the Mexican government and the traditional Yaqui government to repatriate cultural assets led to the development.

The Yaqui are an indigenous group inhabiting North-Western Mexico and the Western United States.

The UN Human Rights Council, Mexican and Swedish governments, and the representatives of the Yaqui Nation agreed in 2020 to repatriate cultural assets.

These included the Masso Koba, as well as 23 other sacred pieces that were in the collection of the World Culture Museum (Världskulturmuseet) located in Gothenburg.

European colonizers stole Sacred relics and cultural assets of the indigenous Americans during the colonial period. These items can be found in museums throughout Europe.

In addition, indigenous peoples and the national governments throughout the continent have demanded the return of such pieces from Europe.