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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Repatriation has become almost ubiquitous in ethnomusicological research on Australian Indigenous song. This article provides insights into processes of a repatriation-centered song revitalization project in the Kimberley, northwest Australia. Authored by an ethnomusicologist and two members of the Ngarinyin cultural heritage community, the article provides firsthand accounts of the early phases of a long-term repatriation-centered project referred to locally as the Junba Project. The authors provide a sample of narratives and dialogues that deliver insight into experiences of the work of identifying recordings “in the archive” and cultural negotiation and use of recordings “on Country.” The entanglement of local epistemological frameworks with past and present collection, archival research, repatriation, and dissemination for intergenerational knowledge transmission between spirits, Country, and the living, is explored, showing how recordings move song knowledge from community to archive to community and from generation to generation, and move people in present-day communities. The chapter considers how these “moving songs” allow an interrogation of the fraught endeavor of intercultural collaboration in the pursuit of revitalizing Indigenous song traditions. It positions repatriation as a method that can support intergenerational knowledge transmission and as a method to consider past and present intercultural relationships within research projects and between cultural heritage communities and collecting institutions.

Keywords: repatriation, Australian Indigenous, intergenerational knowledge transmission, archives, dissemination, song

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