Utilising repatriated material for cultural revitalisation in Karajarri and Kiwirrkura communities

Wednesday, 6 June 2018
Dr Tran Tran
Mr Sam Bayley
Anna Dwyer
Mervyn Mulardy
Wynston Shovellor

The Preserve, Strengthen, and Renew Project undertaken by Karajarri and Kiwirrkurra traditional owners and AIATSIS looked at processes for the return of cultural information from AIATSIS, the recording of new materials within communities, and creating community based protocols for managing cultural knowledge and information into the future.

For Karajarri what is important is not just storing and controlling the information but also learning from it and using it to keep practicing culture (in land management and cultural activities; as well as teaching children in the local school) and for Kiwirrkurra, there is a strong need to record, pass on and practice knowledge (especially before the old people who grew up in the bush – pujiman – pass away)

However, in taking back control of cultural material, tensions potentially arise between cultural governance and legal rights including restrictions imposed by copyright, the priorities of collecting bodies and the needs of communities, different levels if cultural and institutional authority the dispersion of cultural material across multiple collections and the continuing resourcing demands of managing and storing cultural material. The panel will contrast the perspectives of senior Karajarri and Kiwirrkurra knowledge holders, younger rangers, their representative bodies and AIATSIS researchers. It will present on research findings and discuss some of the practical pathways that the groups used to overcome these barriers in order to strengthen and revive culture.