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International repatriations of Indigenous human remains and its complexities: the Australian experience


Turnbull, P, International repatriations of Indigenous human remains and its complexities: the Australian experience, Museum and Society, 18, (1) pp. 6-19. ISSN 1479-8360 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.29311/mas.v18i1.3246


In this article, I discuss how returns of Ancestral Remains of Indigenous Australian communities from overseas museums and other scientific institutions since the early 1990s have occurred in the context of changing Australian government repatriation policies and practices. The article then highlights how the past three decades have seen numerous instances of the return of Ancestral Remains to their community proving difficult and stressful because of the loss of ancestral lands, life-ways and the experience of colonial subjugation. As I explain, returning the dead has challenged the living by requiring them to address questions of authority, power and historical legacies of colonialism, notably in the case of those communities seeking the restoration of ownership of their ancestral country within the framework of Australia’s current national and state land laws.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, Aboriginal people, Torres Strait Islanders, human remains, repatriation
Research Division:History and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical Studies
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
Objective Division:Cultural Understanding
Objective Group:Heritage
Objective Field:Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage
UTAS Author:Turnbull, P (Professor Paul Turnbull)
ID Code:138133
Year Published:2020
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (LP130100131)
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2020-03-26
Last Modified:2020-03-27

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