Halcrow, Si n, Aranui, Amber, Halmhofer, Stephanie, Heppner, Annalisa, Johnson, Norma, Killgrove, Kristina, Schug, Gwen Robbins

Nov 26, 2021
International Journal of Cultural Property

This commentary debunks the poor scholarship in Repatriation and Erasing the Past by Elizabeth Weiss and James Springer. We show that modern bioarchaeological practice with Indigenous remains places ethics, partnership, and collaboration at the fore and that the authors’ misconstructed dichotomous fallacy between “objective science” and Indigenous knowledge and repatriation hinders the very argument they are espousing. We demonstrate that bioarchaeology, when conducted in collaboration with stakeholders, enriches research, with concepts and methodologies brought forward to address common questions, and builds a richer historical and archaeological context. As anthropologists, we need to acknowledge anti Indigenous (and anti Black) ideology and the insidious trauma and civil rights violations that have been afflicted and re afflicted through Indigenous remains being illegally or unethically obtained, curated, transferred, and used for research and teaching in museums and universities. If we could go so far as to say that anything good has come out of this book, it has been the stimulation in countering these beliefs and developing and strengthening ethical approaches and standards in our field.

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