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Returning recordings of songs that persist: The Anmatyerr traditions of akiw and anmanty

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Title:Returning recordings of songs that persist: The Anmatyerr traditions of akiw and anmanty
Authors:Jason Gibson
Aboriginal history
Date Issued:Oct 2019
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Gibson, Jason. "Returning recordings of songs that persist: The Anmatyerr traditions of akiw and anmanty." In Archival returns: Central Australia and beyond, edited by Linda Barwick, Jennifer Green, and Petronella Vaarzon-Morel, 65–89. LD&C Special Publication 18. Honolulu & Sydney: University of Hawai’i Press & Sydney University Press, 2019.
Series:LD&C Special Publication 18
Abstract:Digitisation has made the return of recordings made by researchers in the past far more achievable than ever before. This technological advance, combined with the ethical and political imperative towards decolonising methodologies in Indigenous research, has resulted in considerable interest in ensuring that recordings of cultural value be returned to Indigenous communities. In this chapter, I reflect upon the fieldwork experience of returning archival song recordings concerning public aspects of male initiation ceremonies, known as akiw and anmanty, to Anmatyerr-speaking communities in the Northern Territory of Australia. Despite attenuation of song knowledge across the region, these songs continue to be sung at annual ritual events. Once these recordings were returned to these communities, Anmatyerr people quickly received them as important reiterations of their present-day socio-cultural expression. Evidently imbricated in a complex, ritually based form of complementary filiation and knowledge dissemination, these songs are shared and taught in a fragile and changing context of ceremonial practice. The account provided here offers insights into songs associated with arguably the most persistent and significant form of ceremonial practice in Central Australia, although sparsely documented in the Anmatyerr region. I also highlight the relational properties of song via their connections to place, Anengkerr ‘Dreaming’ and people and provide important insights into how these communities perceive the archiving and preservation of this material.
Appears in Collections: LD&C Special Publication No. 18: Archival Returns: Central Australia and Beyond

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