Rosemary Neill of The Australian newspaper has written an interesting article placing the global dilemma of the return and repatriation of indigenous cultural objects within the specific context of the Australian legal system. In her article, entitled “Repatriation of indigenous artefacts a hot topic for museums”, she discusses the proceedings of this year’s National Museum of Australia Conference on the theme of “New Encounters”, at which American, British, and Canadian scholars were also present. The article includes the following:
West has likened traditional museums to “a temple with a self-governing priesthood’’; and he has said of those critics who oppose museums’ more inclusive approach: “These intellectuals already have lost this pitched cultural and intellectual battle and they know it, however much they protest, pretend and resist.’’ He will address this issue further in his Canberra talk. Some archeologists and scientists worry, however, that their work is being impeded by the American repatriation laws, while certain tribes have found it difficult and costly to prove their links to contested artefacts and remains.