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Title: Repatriation and the production of kinship and memory : anthropological perspectives on the repatriation of Haida ancestral remains
Author: Krmpotich, Cara A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2676 2716
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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An ethnographic approach is used to produce a nuanced investigation of the efforts of the Haida First Nation in British Columbia, Canada, to repatriate the human remains of their ancestors from collections around the world. The result is a contextualisation of Haida repatriation within values and structures of kinship—a position that stands in contrast to the frequent use of political or legalistic frameworks to understand repatriation issues. Incorporating Haida sensibilities toward kinship relations is necessary as analyses based in colonial or post-colonial encounters fail to account for the full range of motivating factors, which include the Haida value of yahgudangang (‘to pay respect’ and ‘to be fit for respect’) and the agency of ancestors after death. Furthermore, it is argued that kinship is the predominant structure through which Haidas experience identity, history and memory. Repatriation is therefore approached as a collective space in which kinship and memories are created, as well as a collective space in which remembering occurs. In order to understand how the individual elements comprising the repatriation process reflect and foster the construction of kinship, the expectations and obligations that exist within matrilineages and between moieties are traced, as is their material manifestation in objects, as well as tangible and ephemeral property. The sharing of embodied experiences between generations as a consequence of Haidas’ participation in the process of repatriation is shown to augment collective memory and family histories. The ways in which repatriation is incorporated within individual and collective narratives are explored as a further means of understanding the dynamic between the production of kinship, memory and identity. Avenues for expanding the current findings on repatriation, the connections between memory and kinship, and Northwest Coast scholarship more generally are presented.
Supervisor: Peers, Laura Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada ; Overseas Research Scheme ; Clarendon Bursary
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anthropology ; Material anthropology ; Social anthropology ; repatriation ; Northwest Coast ; material culture ; kinship ; memory