The controversial 'reburial issue' first developed about thirty years ago when some indigenous groups started to campaign for the returban of their ancestral human remains from museums and collecting institutions, and these requests were refused. Since then, museums in some countries have responded positively to repatriation requests while those in others continue to refuse them. This incisive book provides the reader with what has been generally missing in the current debate and available literature - a detailed historical understanding of how and why these collections were amassed, and the responses of indigenous groups and collectors at the time. The book focusses particularly on Australia as a background to its documentation and examination of the issue. The reburial question has had wide repercussions for all involved. Today, the topic is of continuing relevance for archaeologists, anthropologists and museum professionals, as well as for many indigenous groups worldwide. The issue highlights two very different approaches to items which hold exceptional importance in many cultures - human remains.It is also about the relationship between science and the people whose past is the subject of academic enquiry, and how the sometimes hegemonic nature of this relationship has, through the issue documented here, relentlessly bubbled to the surface. What may appear at first a simple clash of interests is thus revealed to have many deeper aspects.
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About the Author
Cressida Fforde is an independent researcher and consultant, working for various indigenous groups and, most recently, the Auckland War Memorial Museum. She is co-editor of 'The Dead and Their Possessions: repatriation in principle, policy and practice' (2001).