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From loss of objects to recovery of meanings : online museums and indigenous cultural heritage

Pilcher, Jeremy and Vermeylen, Saskia (2008) From loss of objects to recovery of meanings : online museums and indigenous cultural heritage. M/C Journal, 11 (6). ISSN 1441-2616

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The debate about the responsibility of museums to respect Indigenous peoples’ rights (Kelly and Gordon; Butts) has caught our attention on the basis of our previous research experience with regard to the protection of the tangible and intangible heritage of the San (former hunter gatherers) in Southern Africa (Martin and Vermeylen; Vermeylen, Contextualising; Vermeylen, Life Force; Vermeylen et al.; Vermeylen, Land Rights). This paper contributes to the critical debate about curatorial practices and the recovery of Indigenous peoples’ cultural practices and explores how museums can be transformed into cultural centres that “decolonise” their objects while simultaneously providing social agency to marginalised groups such as the San.