'Ape Woman' buried after 150 years in Mexico hometown
Julia Pastrana has finally been laid to rest in her hometown of Sinaloa de Leyva, in Mexico, nearly 153 years after her death, according to the Associated Press. Pastrana was born with a rare genetic condition that left her face and body covered with hair. That, coupled with a jutting jaw and other deformities, led a showman named Theodore Lent to tour her around the United States, beginning in 1854, where she was billed as the "Ape Woman."
Just 20-years-old at the time, Pastrana would sing and dance for paying audiences across the U.S., before also touring Euope and Russia. She married Lent, and gave birth to his son. However, she became ill due to complications from childbirth and died, along with the son, in 1860.
Her remains ended up at a university in Norway, following her death. Now, over 150 years later, after private and government requests, her body was returned home to be laid to rest. It's a move that more countries are making, as hundreds of thousands of remains have been returned to their native homes after being held in institutions in the U.S., Europe, and Australia.
Remains were gathered by various institutions during the European colonization of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Scandanavian countries have taken longer to come around, but seem to be changing their stance, as well. "Norway has become, in recent times, more uncomfortable about their holding of human remains," says author of "Contesting Human Remains in Museum Collections: the crisis of cultural authority," Tiffany Jenkins.
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