Nine sacred artifacts stolen from a Native American tribe are finally returned over 100 years later

Historical items, plundered from the graves of indigenous Alaskans, displayed at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin on May 16.

(CNN)

For members of the Chugach tribe in Alaska, ancient artifacts are all they have left. The invaluable remnants are testament to their rich history, their sense of belonging, their culture.
But hundreds of years of explorers ripping through their lands and stealing their history has left these items scattered across the world.
Thankfully, this is beginning to change.
    Nine sacred artifacts that an explorer plundered from the tribe in the 1800s, including burial masks and a cradle, are finally returning home after being stored at a museum in Germany.
    "It's so important to keep our culture alive and vibrant," John Johnson from the Chugach Alaska Corporation told CNN. The corporation owns part of the tribe's assets and works to maintain financial independence for Alaskan natives. "So many of our artifacts are scattered around the world."
    But getting items like this back doesn't just happen overnight.

    The artifacts have spiritual meanings

    The Chugach tribe has occupied the area around Prince William Sound in Alaska for thousands of years. The tribe currently has more than 4,000 people, including original members and descendants. Stories of the tribe's origins have been passed down from generation to generation.