When descendant groups are denied direct and meaningful engagement in decision making, heritage management policies are ineffective at best and harmful at worst. Access to and control over one’s own heritage is a basic human right essential to identity, wellbeing and worldview. The historic separation of Indigenous peoples from their heritage not only results in considerable economic and cultural harms, but is a form of violence. Community-based heritage initiatives are capable of challenging colonial structures in the research process without compromising the integrity of archaeology. Local and international approaches to negotiated practice are discussed, as is an example of activism to protect ancestral burial grounds and sacred sites. Professor Nicholas also reviews the contributions of the international IPinCH Project, which has worked with Indigenous groups worldwide since 2008.
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