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"For the children...": Aboriginal Australia, cultural access, and archival obligation

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Title:"For the children...": Aboriginal Australia, cultural access, and archival obligation
Authors:Brenda L Croft
Sandy Toussaint
Felicity Meakins
Patrick McConvell
Keywords:cultural ethics
Australian museums
Indigenous autoethnography
Date Issued:Oct 2019
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Croft, Brenda L., Sandy Toussaint, Felicity Meakins, and Patrick McConvell. "'For the children ...': Aboriginal Australia, cultural access, and archival obligation." In Archival returns: Central Australia and beyond, edited by Linda Barwick, Jennifer Green, and Petronella Vaarzon-Morel, xi-xvii. LD&C Special Publication 18. Honolulu & Sydney: University of Hawai’i Press & Sydney University Press, 2019.
Series:LD&C Special Publication 18
Abstract:For whom are archival documents created and conserved? Who is obliged to care for them and provide access to their content, and for how long? The state, libraries, museums and galleries, researchers, interlocutors, genealogists, family heritage organisations? Or does material collected long ago and then archived belong personally, socially, emotionally, culturally, and intellectually to the people from whom the original material was collected and, eventually, to their descendants? In a colonised nation, additional ethical and epistemological questions arise: Are archives protected and accessed for the colonised or the colonisers, or both? How are differences regarding archival creation, protection, and access distinguished, and in whose interest? Is it for future generations? What happens when archives are accessed and read by family members and/or researchers, and what happens when they are not? A focus on two interrelated stories – firstly an experiential account narrated by Brenda L Croft about constructive archival management and access, and secondly a contrasting example relating how the Berndt Field Note Archive continues to be restricted from entitled claimants – facilitates a return to three interrelated questions: for whom are archives created and conserved, who is obliged to care for, and authorise access to, them, and to whom do they belong?
Appears in Collections: LD&C Special Publication No. 18: Archival Returns: Central Australia and Beyond

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