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Acknowledging Indigenous recordkeeping

Abstract.

The chapter argues that traditional Western definitions of what constitutes a record and notions of when records first began to be kept have prevented archivists from recognising Indigenous Australian recordkeeping. The case for orally transmitted and cognitively held records is argued using three examples, a kind of treaty-making called a tanderrum, the mnemonic device called a message stick and the belief system known as the Dreaming. The author sees acknowledging Indigenous recordkeeping as essential if there is to be an inclusive Australian archival science.

Keywords

Indigenous Australians

message stick

tanderrum

John Batman (1801–39)

The Dreaming

We cannot tell the story of indigenous ...

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