California State University, Fullerton

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Orange County Register

Cal State Fullerton Repatriates African Tribal Totems

Jan. 15, 2014

FULLERTON – One of anthropology professor Joseph Nevadomsky’s first assignments at Cal State Fullerton was to catalog and photograph a collection of 27 sacred African tribal totems gifted to the university in 1991.

The slender wooden posts, known as vigango, fascinated Nevadomsky and inspired him to write a scholarly paper on the Kenyan tribal people who carved and painted them.

Twenty-three years later, the collection began its long journey back to Kenya – and Nevadomsky came to bid it farewell.

“It’s great they’re going back to Kenya,” Nevadomsky said Wednesday as professional movers loaded the artifacts onto a truck. “They belong there.”

In an act of repatriation, Cal State Fullerton’s anthropology department decided to voluntarily ship its entire collection of 27 vigango back to Kenya.

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