Decolonising Archives: Indigenous Challenges to Record Keeping in ‘Reconciling’ Settler Colonial States

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Feminist Studies, 2017, 32 (91-92), pp. 108 - 125
Issue Date:
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Feminist and queer engagements with archives and archival theory have emphasised the affective dimensions of archival processes, particularly the meaning and place of archives when they concern marginalised people and intimate lives. In settler colonial contexts such as Australia and Canada, these ways of thinking about archives have been influential in responding to histories of removal, institutionalisation and abuse of Indigenous children. This article investigates the importance of feminist engagements with archives and historiography in ‘reconciling’ settler colonial states, with attention to sites of archival contention. Feminist modes of history that foreground affect in the formation of public culture need to take account of divergent views regarding the propriety of archival records in ‘reconciling’ settler colonial states. Indigenous peoples’ mistrust of state and institutional archives, demands for control of archives and legal actions for destruction of records, as well as establishment of autonomous archives, all contribute to the important and fraught process of decolonising settler colonial archives.
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