Social Complexities, Repatriation, and the Nature of Indigenous Ancestral Skeletal Remains in Northern Australia

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    The repatriation process creates many cross-cultural challenges and has the potential for a range of social impacts on Indigenous communities. The collection and possession of ancestral human remains is the result of past colonial attitudes, the evolution of western medicine and science, and historical trends in physical anthropology. This paper will illustrate that there are issues regarding repatriation of Indigenous ancestral remains that go beyond those of just the ethical and moral obligations to return these collections. This repatriation process has highlighted the ongoing cross-cultural conflict between government practice and Indigenous community values. Just as the original collecting regime was an imposition on Indigenous society, the subsequent mandatory return of the collections can be viewed equally as an ongoing burden, a legacy of past colonial practice. Therefore, it is important for those that are responsible for mandatory repatriation to implement a flexible process that can be altered to meet Indigenous community needs. A proven mechanism that can access information and ctevelop strategies for repatriation can be found in participatory development methods.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCrossing Cultures
    Subtitle of host publicationArt, Politics, Identity
    EditorsSylvia Kleinert
    Place of PublicationDarwin
    PublisherCharles Darwin University Press (CDU Press)
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Print)9780975835647, 0975835645
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Bibliographical note

    Please note this chapter is published under my former last name of Guse not Wesley


    • cross-cultural research
    • repatriation
    • Indigenous Australians


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