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date: 01 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Archival institutions managing Indigenous materials—both state-managed archives and recently created Indigenous “Knowledge Centres”—are examples of “contact zones”: archival materials are products of colonial encounters, and archival management practices are manifestations of forms of governmentality that also include notions of “intangible cultural heritage” and “intellectual property.” This chapter examines new forms of Indigenous empowerment among the Yolngu people of northern Australia in managing their own repatriated cultural heritage materials. It focuses on certain points of tension in these archival contact zones, where both state-managed and Yolngu-managed archives are subject to certain overriding principles of knowledge management: particular methods of documentation and preservation, attention to global standards of knowledge management, and respect for intellectual property law on the one hand, and secrecy, unequal access to knowledge, and the use of restricted knowledge as a political resource on the other.

Keywords: archives, contact zones, intangible cultural heritage, intellectual property, Indigenous “Knowledge Centres”, Yolngu, northeast Arnhem Land

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