Communities and Collections

Limitations, legislation and domestic repatriation

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Introduction: For many aboriginal peoples in Canada the concept of aboriginal rights includes a right to exercise control over cultural property.' To date, the assertion of this right has, in most cases, been limited to extra-judicial negotiation. For example, modern land claims agreements such as the Nunavut Settlement Agreement provide for greater aboriginal participation in heritage resource management and federal assistance in repatriation of heritage resources. Museums and aboriginal peoples are also cooperating in the development of repatriation, management, access and custodial policies. However, an underlying assumption by non-aboriginal participants in both of these processes is that a strict legal analysis of ownership will not favour aboriginal claimants. A distinction is drawn between existing legal rights and moral obligations, leaving aboriginal negotiators at the mercy of non-aboriginal concepts of fairness, professional ethics and political obligation.

  • Date created
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  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
  • License
    © 1995 UBC Law Review Society and Catherine E. Bell. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Bell, C. (1995). Limitations, legislation and domestic repatriation. University of British Columbia Law Review, Special Issue, 149-166. Retrieved from
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