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Repatriation of cultural property and Aboriginal rights: A survey of contemporary legal issues

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  • ABSTRACT. As a result of increasedaboriginaldemands, museumsand govemments are reassessing their roles as guardians of various forms of cultural property. However, an underlyingpresumption in thisprocessis thatastrictlegalanalysisofownershipwill notfavour aboriginalownershipof the culturalpropertyat issue.This articlearguesthat recentdevelopments in aboriginal-rights law maycall into questiona traditionallegal analysisof ownership. Inparticular, it examinesan overviewof legalissueswhichmayarisein repatriation litigationin light of these developments. The objective is not to encourage litigation but to encourage custodiansof aboriginalcultural property to reassesstheir perceivedrights in extra-judicial negotiationswith aboriginalpeoples. SOMMAIRE. A la suite d'exigences accrues de la part des Autochtones, les musees et gouvemementsreevaluentleur role de gardiens de diverses formes de patrimoineculturel. Toutefois,dansceprocessus, onpresumeqU'une analysestrictementjuridiquede lapropriete ne donnera pas automatiquement aux Autochtones la propriete du patrimoine culturel en question.Cetarticle soutientque de recantsdeveloppements dans la legislationqui regit les droitsautochtonespewent remettreen questionI'analysejuridiquetraditionnelledu droit de propriete.Enparticulier,ala lumierede casdeveloppements, onpresenteiciune vuegenerale desquestionslegalesqui peuventetresouleveeslorsdun litigede rapatriation. Cetarticlen'a paspourbutd'inciter aulitigemaisplutotcaluid'encouragerlesgardiensdu patrimoineculturel autochtone a reevaluer ce qu'ils perc;oivent etre leurs droits lors de negociations extrajudiciairesavecles peuplesautochtones.

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    Article (Published)
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    © 1992 Canadian Plains Research Center distributed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International licence.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Bell, C. (1992). Repatriation of cultural property and Aboriginal rights: A survey of contemporary legal issues. Prairie Forum, 17(2), 313-335. Retrieved from
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