Repatriation

Often misused, repatriation specifically refers to the process by which artefacts/objects are returned to a nation following a formal governmental request. This is often confused with ‘restitution’ and calls for ‘return’ more broadly. The connection to the more familiar meaning of “repatriation” – i.e. the return of citizen’s bodies from overseas – should not go unmentioned here. By resisting the objectification of museum items and instead being attentive to communities that conceive of them as living beings/ancestors, instead, perhaps perspectives can shift in a positive direction.

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