Disciplines such as archaeology, anthropology and history exercise a seemingly disproportionate influence on race relations in settler democracies. In South Australia, this influence has complex and unbroken genealogies linked to the beginnings of British settlement and the Protectors of Aborigines. This colonising character survives, and we argue that researchers working in Aboriginal heritage can be positioned as the new Protectors of Aborigines, reinvigorating a colonising network of power relations that remains critical in determining Indigenous interests and futures. In response Ngarrindjeri are theorising and strategising a transformative programme for decentring the new Protectors that avoids contexts where authenticity is at question or fundamental to the negotiations. Mapping actor networks revealed in everyday meetings and performances, and understanding local/global cultures of governmentality, have been necessary to safely bring Indigenous interests into Aboriginal heritage research, planning and policy, without activating the colonial archive and recycling Aboriginalist myths.
- Cultural heritage management