The Indigenous Repatriation Handbook Is Out Now, and Ready to Grow

Title: The Indigenous Repatriation Handbook Is Out Now, and Ready to Grow
Author: Leah Sandals
Media Outlet: Canadianart
Publish Date: April 22, 2019

“In February 2019, a new bill toward a national strategy for repatriation of Indigenous human remains and cultural property passed its third reading in Canada’s House of Commons, and moved on to the Senate. In March 2019, German cultural authorities agreed on a new set of guidelines for repatriating colonially looted artifacts. And in November 2018, a report commissioned by Emmanuel Macron announced France would “allow full repatriation of African artworks taken without consent from their countries of origin.”

Yet how does repatriation actually happen in practice? How can Indigenous communities locate and advocate for repatriation of their specific cultural treasures? (…) “Communities were saying, we don’t know how to begin begin to talk to museums…. and then museums were in the exact same situation,” says Lou-ann Neel. These vital questions, among others, are addressed in the new Indigenous Repatriation Handbook.

(…) “When you are talking about repatriation, yes, it’s about ceremony. Yes, it’s about our right to our own heritage and our own material culture. It’s about the fact that colonial processes have removed things of great significance from our own communities in ways that have been painful,” says Pash. “But it’s also about more practical issues, like how do we find out what’s in museum? And who’s going to pay for all these things to come home?””