‘Qualifying the sacred – levels of meaning in Australian Indigenous objects’ and the impact on repatriation.

Dr. Michael Pickering

National Museum of Australia

For many years Australia has been returning ancestral remains and secret sacred objects to Australian Indigenous communities. In recent years calls for repatriation has expanded to include what have often been called ‘Secular’ objects.

The talk will consider the varying levels of sacredness inherent in the types of ‘traditional’ objects that are characteristic of many museum collections.  In museum collection management typologies, objects are often broken up into discrete categories of secular, ceremonial and sacred.  This talk will address how the divide between sacred and secular objects is actually far more complex, with associated impacts for repatriation.

Thursday, 1st July, 2021

10 am